The operational side of Naturist Legacy Inc. has proven to be a very complex process. It's not possible to explain that complexity using just a few words, and so this article will be longer than usual. We concluded that we'd rather be criticized for the length of our article than for failing to keep our members fully informed.
Our Structure And Main Purpose
Naturist Legacy is not a club. It is, in fact, a membership-based non-profit (non-share) corporation. No one "owns" Naturist Legacy Inc. It is governed by a board of directors (elected by its membership), who are in turn governed by the corporation's by-laws (approved by its membership). A copy of those by-laws are available here — http://www.naturistlegacy.org/docs/NLI_Bylaws* — and in the Members Area of Naturist Legacy's Web site (log in at http://www.naturistlegacy.org/login.html).
The first and primary duty of Naturist Legacy Inc. according to its by-laws is to acquire land and then to hold that land in trust for naturist use — forever. Those by-laws were purposely written in such a way that once the corporation acquires land, it's almost impossible for it to resell that land. Under law, Naturist Legacy Inc. is regarded as a legal "person," and thus has the legal right to transact business like a natural person. However, unlike the person who founded what became Crocus Grove, or the persons who later turned Crocus Grove into a textile campground, a corporation cannot unexpectedly die, and it cannot inexplicably change its mind.
So then, barring an utter catastrophe, the land now owned by Naturist Legacy Inc. will forever be a location where members can be socially nude anywhere on the property away from public view. The corporation cannot change its mind and kick the nudists out. The board of directors cannot change their minds and kick the nudists out. Whatever is built for nudists on this land will remain available for nudists on this land. Period. For the very first time in the 42-year history of organized social nudism in Manitoba, our community has achieved true permanency through Naturist Legacy!
Naturist Legacy's primary goal is to forever eliminate the risk of ever losing our nudist location again. While forever is a very grand goal, we think that our current business model meets that objective as far as any one method is capable. To achieve this kind of security, we must own land outright. Having a mortgage would be a liability and pose a threat to our permanency. Prepaid membership fees allowed us to raise the money necessary to achieve the goal of land ownership with no liabilities attached. So long as the corporation pays the property taxes, insurance and required utilities, this land will always be ours.
Prepaid membership fees will also fund the further development of our land. In order to meet the principle of having no debts to outside lenders, any improvements to the land will only be made based on actual cash of our own in the bank. No money, no development. It's that simple.
Each year, prepaid membership fees will be credited back to the member until their account is fully depleted. The yearly billings of new and existing members who are not able or willing to pay forward will fund ongoing operational expenses. Many members have paid their estimated membership fees up to five years forward. Some have paid over twenty years forward. The more that members pay forward, the faster and better we can develop Naturist Legacy Park. Again, it's that simple!
We all need to be reminded that it took the founders and early members of Crocus Grove decades to develop the old site. They started by just gathering in the bush with no water, power, sewer, clubhouse or pool. As money became available, they built. It was a method that worked, and we will be employing that same method. Granted, we have found a way to speed things up somewhat with our pay forwards so that we will have utilities, bathrooms and a pool in year one. The rest, however, is up to the generosity of the membership, both in terms of their financial contributions and in terms of their desire to come out, roll up their sleeves and help build the park from the ground up.
A Campground Or A Naturist Park?
Naturist Legacy Park will not be a commercial campground. We want to be clear about that. We are not building a campground. We aren't in the campground business. We won't be advertising or selling camping spaces to anyone. Our non-profit corporation is in the social nudism / naturism "business," and as such we have a much broader vision.
Today's nudist wants more than a campground, and so we're going to be more than a campground — much more! We are building a naturist park, not a campground. A naturist park is an activity destination. That means there will be many more things to do than just camp. There will be nude swimming and sunning, nude sports, lots of trails for nude hiking and biking, nude gardening (perhaps), and more.
We need to move in this direction because it opens up a far greater market for us. Successful and growing naturist parks are thriving because their patrons don't need to own an RV to enjoy the full experience. Day-trippers, as they were known in the old place, provide maximum income with little expense. You can pack in day-trippers by the ton without being limited by the number of campsites you have. Day-trippers are the majority of the nudist population in Manitoba today. Hundreds of nudists can be seen on Patricia Beach alone on a busy weekend. They're not towing RVs, nor do they care to have that expense. We need to capture a much larger slice of that customer base and make it our own.
As Lake Winnipeg gets more polluted by the day, and as water levels rise due to Manitoba Hydro's use of the lake as a reservoir, the beaches may become uninhabitable (if they exist at all) within the next ten years or less. Add to this the less than friendly actions of the authorities who oversee these beaches, and the question becomes: Where else can the nudists go? Guess what, folks! We're it! We need to be ready to welcome any and all nudists willing to live by our rules.
Fully serviced campgrounds are expensive to build and operate. Very expensive! Much of this expense has to do with the fact that campgrounds are now extensively regulated in Manitoba. The water safety issue is just one example of such regulations. It was one of the main reasons cited by the owners of our old home for kicking us out to make way for clothed campers who would supposedly provide the increased income necessary to pay for a provincially-mandated drinking water chlorination system. That system alone will cost tens of thousands of dollars to install and maintain. We would face similar costs were we to provide underground piped water to campsites. The cost of electrification would be almost as expensive. Underground wiring and pedestals at every site providing 30 amp power would also cost several tens of thousands of dollars.
So once again: Naturist Legacy Park will not be a campground.
So where does all this leave members who own trailers, and who want to locate them at Naturist Legacy Park? The short answer is that we do intend to welcome them. These trailer owners will, however, need to "rough it." We expect to have about 20 allotments available in early 2011 where members can park trailers if they wish. (An allotment is our term for a small area of land assigned to a member and reserved for their use alone. Availability will not be restricted to trailer owners alone.) Members will be able to run their own heavy extension cords to bring 15 amp power to trailers from a central distribution point. They'll be able to refill their onboard water tanks using a community water hose. They will also have access to a large sewage holding tank where "honey wagons" can be dumped.
It's very important to point out here that Naturist Legacy's low rate structure will clearly reflect the reduced level of services that we will be providing to trailer owners.
What Will Be Available At The Park In 2011?
In 2011, we expect to have all our basic utilities installed — a new hydro line, a new water well, a new phone line and a new sewage holding tank. We expect to build a new standalone washroom building containing sinks, flush toilets and hot showers both inside and outside. We expect to install a new above-ground pool and build a large sun deck around it. And we expect to have the 20 allotments discussed above ready to occupy. We also expect to have acres and acres of mowed lawns to wander and enjoy.
The construction and development of anything more than this will depend upon the further generosity of the membership. Development will always be governed by real cash in the bank, and not by pledges or promises or hope. Timing will be critical in all this. If someone waits to pay membership fees forward until the park opens this coming May (2011), it will likely be too late to spend that money this year. We have only a few short months between now and then to do building design, seek quotes and invite tenders, obtain permits, etc. Once warmer weather actually does arrive, our focus will be fully on the physical land development and no longer on planning issues.
We'll reiterate once again that we're only going to build on the basis of money in the bank. We build only what we can afford, and nothing more. We are tasked with making the most out of every dollar we receive. Every dollar will help to move this venture forward. No amount is too small and no amount is too big when it comes to getting something of this size off the ground!
The RM Of Brokenhead
When the founders of Crocus Grove began their construction and development, rural land was still essentially the "wild west" in terms of zoning by-laws and building codes. Mostly they just didn't exist. In those days, people pretty much built whatever they wanted, wherever they wanted, however they wanted. Times have changed since then. Dramatically so, in fact. Land and development is now very heavily regulated. Our challenge is to find ways to live within those regulations.
Our extensive land search taught us that our single best chance for
rebuilding and being successful was in staying in the RM
of Brokenhead. We are a "known commodity" to them. Discussions held
last summer with officials in a neighbouring RM offered us a clear demonstration
of how difficult it would have been to start over elsewhere. Add to this
the fact that we found a near
perfect piece of land in the RM of Brokenhead in terms of tree cover,
soil drainage, elevation, proximity to a good paved highway, still within
an hour of the city, and close enough to the old camp for members who were
"trapped" there to move over to us or to visit conveniently. Buying this
particular property in this particular RM truly was the right thing to
We have been in communication with the RM of Brokenhead since before we purchased our property. We continue to communicate with them. They are aware of what we are planning to accomplish. We have disclosed details to them both verbally and in a written prospectus. It's important to note that we are not facing any by-law or zoning issues in the RM of Brokenhead that we would not have faced in any other RM located within a reasonable driving distance from Winnipeg.
The initial advice received by us from the RM was that we should begin our development like the founders of Crocus Grove began theirs — small, slow and quiet. We have taken that advice to heart and continue to work at finding ways to "fit" within existing zoning and regulatory frameworks in such a way that our development can proceed at a reasonable pace, and at a reasonable price. This requires strategic thinking and diplomatic consultations — none of which are quick or easy.
Our 80 acres of land is zoned "A-80 Rural and Agricultural." This zoning may influence how we develop our land, but it will not be something that halts basic development. We may eventually apply for Conditional Use permits for certain things, and at some point we may even pursue a full re-zoning if it would be in our best interest to do so (the old camp was rezoned "Seasonal Resort" when it was sold to the current owners). Rezoning is a long and costly process, however, and so by necessity it would need to wait until we are better established and in a position to afford such an expense.
We have taken great care in this article to explain what we expect our starting over to look like. If you haven't done so already, we invite you to read the history of Crocus Grove posted on Naturist Legacy's Web site (see http://www.naturistlegacy.org/doc_history_cgsc*). We believe that our progress will be swifter than Crocus Grove's was. Nevertheless, we don't want anyone to be under any illusions concerning what life will be like at Naturist Legacy Park during our first few years. Our park will be beautiful, and it will be nudist — of that everyone can be certain — but it will initially lack many of the comforts and conveniences that so many of us have taken for granted all these years. That will be the reality of things for a while.
We are very excited about what the future holds for Naturist Legacy Park. We hope that you are, too. We own a fantastic piece of land perfectly suited for our life as nudists. We're confident that we'll make a very good start in developing that land in 2011!
While we will continue to enthusiastically encourage nudists to support Naturist Legacy with donations and membership fees paid forward, we will not be engaging in any "hard sell" tactics. We believe that nudists who grasp what Naturist Legacy is trying to achieve and who have seen our steady progress to date will not need to be sold on anything.
We will continue to be very clear about the hard work that lies before us. We will also continue to be very clear in stating that our growth and success will depend entirely upon the support we receive from the nudist community. In the end, each and every one of us will get out of this rebuilding effort only what we put into it. There is no "white knight" who will come to our rescue. We must do this ourselves, and do it we will!
Naturist Legacy is a private membership-based non-profit corporation created to own and manage land held in trust for naturist use — forever! We have our land. No debts. No mortgage. Ours forever. Naturist forever. We are moving forward. We hope that you will join us, and that you will generously support us.
Honour the past. Support the present. Build the future.
SOURCE: This article was published in both the members and non-members editions of the January 14, 2011 Naturist Legacy News Update. I co-authored the article with the Naturist Legacy Inc. treasurer. Check out the 2011 Photo Galleries to see what was accomplished during this ambitious year of construction and development at Naturist Legacy Park.
*The By-laws mentioned in the article above are no longer available at the link provided but are available here.
*The History of Crocus Grove Sun Club mentioned in the article above is no longer available at the link provided but is available here.