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Court approves sale of Wildwood forest

B.C. Supreme Court has approved the sale of Wildwood Ecoforest to the Ecoforestry Institute Society for $800,000. - Nanaimo News Bulletin file
B.C. Supreme Court has approved the sale of Wildwood Ecoforest to the Ecoforestry Institute Society for $800,000.
— image credit: Nanaimo News Bulletin file

B.C. Supreme Court has approved the sale of Wildwood Ecoforest to the Ecoforestry Institute Society for $800,000.

The Land Conservancy, a non-profit, was looking to sell the 31-hectare Cedar site due to multi-million dollar debt. The society, another non-profit, had made previous unsuccessful bids. The conservancy subsequently accepted a deal from ecoforester Mark Randen in July, something the society was against.

The issue was before B.C. Supreme Court and on Tuesday, the society’s bid for Wildwood – $665,000 in funds and $135,000 of creditor forgiveness – was approved.

Cathy Armstrong, The Land Conservancy executive director, said a significant piece of evidence entered in the proceedings was a statement by Herb Hammond, an ecoforester considered an expert and hired by the society, who said the society’s management plan “was superior.”

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Shelley Fitzpatrick noted the previous failure of the society to close previous deals and ordered a sealed bid process. As part of that, the society was required to provide proof of the money committed, said Armstrong.

The society was able to provide that and with money matters demonstrated and Hammond’s affidavit, the conservancy board re-evaluated and decided to back the society’s bid, as it was superior financially and had the expert testimony, said Armstrong.

Kathy Code, society spokeswoman, said it was able to secure the money through a fundraising campaign.

“We ran a six-day Last Stand for Wildwood campaign. At that point we had a benefactor step forward who offered to not only double, but triple people’s donations and threw in some cash himself and by the end of that six days we had $250,000 raised. We also have a mortgage with Vancity,” said Code.

That together with creditor debt forgiveness enabled the society to raise the money, Code said.

The deal has a closing date of Dec. 20.

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