SUPREME COURT OF BC APPROVES TRANSFER OF
WILDWOOD ECOFOREST TO ECOFORESTRY INSTITUTE SOCIETY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2016
Victoria, BC – The Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC) has received approval from the Supreme Court of B.C. to transfer Wildwood Ecoforest to the Ecoforestry Institute Society (EIS). The purchase includes a restrictive covenant, forest management plan and the creation of a Trust to ensure that Wildwood remains a site of active sustainable ecoforestry.
The EIS offer, which is to be completed by December 20, will recover $800,000 towards TLC’s creditors including $665,000 in direct funds and $135,000 in creditor forgiveness.
TLC submitted an offer to purchase Wildwood Ecoforest to the Court for consideration on November 14 from Merv Wilkinson’s apprentice Mark Randen. Due to TLC’s inalienability bylaws, the sale of Wildwood within the organization’s creditor protection process must be sanctioned by a justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. The offer protected the legacy of Merv Wilkinson by ensuring that Wildwood continued as a model of active sustainable ecoforestry practice via a conservation covenant and management plan. EIS submitted a new competing offer for the Court’s consideration.
Madam Justice Fitzpatrick requested that both parties submit sealed bids on Wednesday, November 16 for her consideration. EIS was asked to provide confirmation of their financial arrangements and ability to complete on their offer at this time.
Renowned ecoforestry expert Herb Hammond submitted an affidavit indicating that the EIS covenant and management plan was superior to the Randen covenant and management plan.
Recognizing that the EIS offer provides higher financial return to creditors, a higher recommendation from an independent expert, a Trust to protect Wildwood in perpetuity, and further that EIS has satisfied the Court with proof of ability to complete the transaction, TLC’s Board of Directors supported the EIS offer in the Court.
Madam Justice Fitzpatrick made her decision at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22.
“The guarantee of sustainable ecoforestry practices on Wildwood is critical in the eyes of TLC,” said Cathy Armstrong, TLC Executive Director. “Reflecting on the evidence provided these last few days in Court, the Board of Directors and I feel comfortable that the future of Wildwood would have been protected with either option. I wish to thank both the Ecoforestry Institute Society and Mark Randen for their passion and commitment to ecoforestry and protecting Merv Wilkinson’s legacy.”
The Court ruling further advanced the organization’s goals within the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) process to pay creditors and to ensure that the properties remain protected to the greatest extent possible. Funds from the sale will pay TLC’s creditors as per the organization’s Plan of Arrangement and Compromise (POA).
“On behalf of the Board of Directors I wish to thank Madam Justice Fitzpatrick for her ruling today permitting TLC to transfer Wildwood Ecoforest,” said Frances Pugh, Co-Chair of TLC’s Board. “Our creditors have waited patiently for us to get to this point. We are immensely grateful for their patience.”
TLC has scheduled a meeting with creditors for early December to seek final acceptance of the POA and the organization’s exit of creditor protection. Wildwood was the final property requiring court approval under the CCAA process. If the creditor vote approves the revised POA, TLC will seek a sanction order to ratify the vote and exit CCAA.
Upon completion of the CCAA process TLC will continue to protect sensitive ecosystems through the monitoring and enforcement of more than 230 conservation covenants throughout B.C.
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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TLC Executive Director
Office (250) 479-8053
Cell (250) 588-4945