Talks continue on future of TLC-owned Wildwood Ecoforest

The Wildwood Ecoforest near Cedar has been pulled from the agenda of Friday’s Land Conservancy of B.C. meeting as talks about the property’s future continue.

The move staves off a potential confrontation over the future of Wildwood. The 77-acre woodlot near Cedar was established by the late Merv Wilkinson, who dedicated his life to proving it is possible to harvest trees in an ecologically sustainable way.

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The property is one of dozens that The Land Conservancy is looking to transfer to other conservation groups as it looks for ways to pay off creditors. The Victoria-based non-profit organization has $8 million in debt and has been under creditor protection since fall 2013.

TLC members are scheduled to meet Friday to vote on a resolution to change the organization’s bylaws in order to transfer the properties.

The decision to continue discussions about Wildwood’s future followed a recent meeting of The Land Conservancy and the Ecoforestry Institute Society, said John Shields, TLC’s director of operations.

Tensions were building prior to the meeting.

The Ecoforestry Institute Society, which manages the ecoforest, and its supporters have been fighting to ensure Wildwood does not go into private hands and is held only by a non-profit trust. The institute has offered $600,000 for Wildwood and is continuing to raise funds.

The groups plan to continue meeting with the aim that Wildwood be owned by a special purpose trust, Shields said.

If they can reach an agreement, a proposal regarding Wildwood would go to The Land Conservancy’s annual meeting this November.

Approval from members is needed to carry through on Land Conservancy plans to transfer 28 of its ecologically sensitive properties to the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Nature Trust of B.C. The two trusts will give the Land Conservancy $1.5 million.

Wildwood Ecoforest

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