Belle Vue House Fundraising Efforts Hit a Roadblock

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A hiccup in fundraising efforts to restore the Belle Vue House in Amherstburg.

The Belle Vue Conservancy, the group heading up the restoration, can no longer issue tax receipts due a policy change with the town's Amherstburg Community Foundation.

Conservancy president Shirley Curson-Prue says they've applied and been granted charitable status by the province, but it could take months for the process to be completed through the Canada Revenue Agency.

She says, without a tax receipt, some donors are asking for their money back.

"Frankly, we've had a couple of people who have asked for their money back because they want the tax receipt this year and I can't say that I'm surprised by that. It's really hobbled us. Also, because we're not incorporated, we can't have an online tax receipt issued. That was a fairly significant portion of our intake."

Curson-Prue says the goal of having the house completed by 2021 is likely off the table.

"We stepped up and we said we would do it and now I don't think we can do it in our timeframe. We're not stopping because we are just far too focused on doing this and it's hugely important that we do it. It's owned by the people of this town and it's important to the history, it's important to the future."

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The Belle Vue House in its current state on Dalhousie St. in Amherstburg June 15. (Photo by AM800's Gord Bacon)

She says, since the change in June, they've had to turn several donors away.

"I explain to them that I can accept the donation, we'll put in into a holding account and we will issue a tax receipt when we get status. If they cannot wait for that or will not wait for that, which is entirely their business, then we just simply say don't give it to us this year."

But Councilor Don McArthur says, "the town received a delegation from Prue ... regarding the Belle Vue Conservancy Status Report. Council directed the town to facilitate donations and issue receipts for the Belle Vue property until such time as the Belle Vue Conservancy receives charitable status."

So far, the roof and eaves have been completed on the home.

Next up are the windows at a cost of $414,000, but Curson-Prue says they'll likely have to be put on hold until sometime next year.

The entire restoration of the 200-year-old Belle Vue House on Dalhousie St. is expected to cost $3.5-million.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi