The Ecoforestry Institute Society seeks $150,000 of RDN gas tax money for restoration of a cabin at the site of Wildwood Ecoforest. (News Bulletin file)

RDN approves $150K for Wildwood cabin repairs

Regional District of Nanaimo approves gas tax money pending UBCM approval

Regional District of Nanaimo will grant $150,000 of gas tax money to Ecoforestry Institute Society to restore a cabin of sustainable logging pioneer Merve Wilkinson.

The non-profit society holds 31-hectare Wildwood Ecoforest, where the cabin is situated, in trust, with B.C. Supreme Court approving the sale in November 2016. The society is now setting its sights on cabin restoration, part of a plan to establish financial stability.

Kathy Code, director, said the society envisions the homestead to serve as a learning centre with accommodations, where people can stay and partake in forest activities. It was built around 1963, and while structurally sound, it’s far from perfect, she said.

“There were significant deficiencies and I think that, as with any construction project, the deeper you dig into it, the more issues you find, so we’ve had to replace everything within the structure basically keeping the log and stone structure, but having to take everything right back to the log walls and put in new insulation, new drywall, new sub floors, new flooring, new kitchen, new bathrooms. So pretty well almost a complete restoration,” said Code.

Among the more expensive items in a project list submitted to the regional district are windows, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and solar roof panels which will cost $20,000 each. The project will cost approximately $185,000.

Alec McPherson, RDN director for the Wildwood area, supports the project and proposed a gas tax money motion at the district’s Dec. 12 meeting. It is pending approval from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, which is responsible, along with federal and provincial governments, for gas tax money disbursement.

According to McPherson, the request must meet criteria set out by the governments and UBCM. It has to be for the public and the public must have access for a minimum period of five years.

“I would think that by the end of next week we will have the UBCM comment on it and after that, it’s a case of how fast … the ecoforestry institute can actually approve and return the documentation that’s required,” said McPherson.

The remaining money will come from in-kind work, said Code.

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