Ucluelet owed $2.5M, rejects vote on Wyndansea resort

The Onni Group is a step closer to owning the failed Wyndansea golf development at Ucluelet.

The Vancouver company’s restructuring plan won support in a vote of creditors owed about $100 million by the original developer.

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The sole opponent was the District of Ucluelet, which says it is owed

$2.46 million by the Wyndansea companies.

Ernst and Young, bankruptcy trustee and monitor, recommended creditors accept Onni’s offer because that plan will give unsecured creditors some repayment on money owed, rather than nothing at all.

The total value of Onni’s proposal has not been made public. The nearly 200 secured and unsecured creditors are to receive partial payment under the plan.

The district is insisting it be paid in full, according to a Wednesday report from monitor Mike Bell of Ernst and Young, which is reviewing the claim.

Ucluelet’s claim includes $355,578 for unpaid property taxes, $1 million in a community amenity fee, and $1.107 million in interest on that fee, the report said.

The mayor of Ucluelet could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Ucluelet appears ready for a fight, arguing it has been unfairly treated.

It passed a motion this month stating staff and legal counsel are authorized to dispute “any decision by the monitor or court that does not include prompt payment of property taxes and the $1-million amenity payment.”

Onni’s plan to take over the companies and their debts has still to be approved by the Supreme Court of B.C.

Bell said the plan “represents a viable option for the continuance of development and sales activity” for the property.

A group of connected companies filed for bankruptcy in December after the financial collapse of the planned Wyndansea golf course and resort and residential community. It was to be built on waterfront land in Ucluelet.

Developer Elke Loof-Koehler hired hall-of-fame golf legend Jack Nicklaus to design an 18-hole golf course, which was not completed. Plans included high-end houses, two hotels, multi-family units and staff housing on 370 acres.

The ambitious plan — its development cost was estimated at $650 million — never attracted enough sales to succeed and the project went into receivership in 2009.

Attempts to sell Wyndansea as one package flopped as well. In 2009, it was listed for $37 million.

By last March, the price had dropped to $7.95 million.

Priority in repayment goes to a group of mortgage holders claiming $65.3 million, according to the report. Ernst and Young said earlier that the terms of the plan are confidential but that these creditors would not be paid in full.

Mortgage holders are Victoria-based Cooper Pacific Mortgage Investment Corp., Bancorp Balance Mortgage Fund Ltd., Cancorp Financial Services Inc. and Liberty Holdings Excell Corp.

A formula was drawn up to give unsecured creditors a portion of what they are claiming.

— With files from the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News

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