Society increases offer to buy Wildwood

NANAIMO – The Ecoforestry Institute Society hopeful conservancy will accept terms.

The Ecoforestry Institute Society has upped the ante in its bid to acquire Wildwood Ecoforest in Cedar.

The society has been attempting to purchase Wildwood from The Land Conservancy, which holds it in trust. The non-profit conservancy is dealing with a multimillion-dollar debt load and has been looking to sell.

The society wasn’t successful with a previous offer of $600,000, but its most recent offer of $900,000 could get consideration. Prior to a 2 p.m. deadline Monday, the conservancy requested a week extension, according to the society.

“We still need to get TLC to accept the offer,” said Kathy Code, society spokeswoman. “We understand there’s still a private offer on the table, so we believe [our offer] exceeds that in every way, cash wise and also in terms of stewardship. We’ve been managing the property for 14 years, so we have quite a deep knowledge of Wildwood.”

Code said the offer is a combination of donor money and creditor forgiveness, under the conservancy’s court-approved plan of arrangement.

The new deadline for the conservancy to accept the new deal is Tuesday (Aug. 4) at 2 p.m. The society remains optimistic.

“This is the first time actually that TLC has offered to actually acknowledge the bid and offer to negotiate with us, so we are hopeful on that front,” said Code.

John Shields, The Land Conservancy’s director of operations, was contacted for comment, but did not return calls.

Wildwood was sold by Merve Wilkinson, late sustainable logging pioneer, to the conservancy in 2000, with the expectation it remain in the public domain.