BC COURT APPROVES TRANSFER OF CONSERVATION PROPERTIES SETTING TLC ON
PATH TO REALIZE RESTRUCTURING PLAN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2015
Vancouver, BC – The Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC) received approval today from the Supreme Court of B.C. to transfer 27 conservation properties to The Nature Trust of B.C. (TNTBC) and The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) for an agreed upon amount of $1.5 million.
The transfers had been identified in TLC’s Plan of Arrangement, the document which details how and when secured and unsecured creditors will be paid. On March 30, 2015, the Plan was approved by creditors with overwhelming support, and subsequently sanctioned by the Honourable Madam Justice Fitzpatrick of the Supreme Court of B.C. on April 2, 2015.
In approving the transfer, the Judge overruled a TLC bylaw that prohibits the transfer of “inalienable” properties. The Board of TLC had tried to resolve the bylaw matter internally in June, by asking the membership to approve an amendment to the bylaw. An Extraordinary General Meeting was convened on June 12th to vote on the board motion to amend the bylaw. At that meeting, a vocal group with a singular focus on one property managed to block the amendment. Following that meeting and a request by TLC Management for feedback from members, 267 members wrote letters in support of the transfer and of Board and management’s continued implementing the Plan of Arrangement.
“We are heartened by the show of support from our members in the hundreds of letters we received in the past few weeks, and we are grateful for the pragmatic decision from Justice Fitzpatrick,” said John Shields, Director of Operations for TLC. “We continue to work carefully and diligently to implement the Plan of Arrangement, which will ensure TLC creditors are paid while our properties are protected to the greatest extent possible. We know that NCC and TNTBC will continue to protect the properties in the spirit in which they were originally saved.”
“Our success in Court on Tuesday has been the culmination of more than two years of difficult work by TLC’s Board and staff,” said Briony Penn, Chair of TLC’s Board of Directors. “With 31 of 39 property transfers in our Plan now approved, the first tranche will be completed this fall with full payments to TLC’s secured creditors. We are on track to do what we intended from the outset – to protect the properties through appropriate new ownership and covenants, as appropriate, while raising funds needed to repay creditors.”
Properties to be transferred to NCC/TNTBC include Lehman Springs Conservation Area, Luke Creek Wildlife Corridor, Turtle Valley Farm, and the Similkameen River Pines, among others.
Transfers of the 27 properties to the two trusts are to be completed by September 30, 2015. Funds from NCC and TNTBC will pay TLC creditors according to the agreed upon Plan.
About The Land Conservancy of BC:
The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is a non-profit, charitable Land Trust working throughout British Columbia. TLC’s primary mandate is to benefit the community by protecting habitat for natural communities of plants and animals. Founded in 1997, TLC is membership-based and governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors. TLC relies on a strong membership and volunteer base to help maintain its operations.
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Media contact: John Shields, TLC Director of Operations (250) 479-8053