Why Is Wildwood at Risk?
In 2000, The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) purchased Wildwood Ecoforest with community donations, and declared they would protect this legacy forever. In 2015 they filed plans to sell Wildwood to a private party in order to pay down the society’s multi-million dollar debt.
We will not let that happen.
In 2013, in attempt to settle their 8 million dollar debt while preserving many environmentally significant properties, TLC entered court-supervised creditor protection. In February 2015, TLC filed their Plan of Compromise and Arrangement in Supreme Court of Canada which outlines how they will dispose of properties and repay creditors. This Plan states TLC’s intention to sell Wildwood to a private individual on page 10, Section 4:10.
Our citizens group, called the Wildwood Protectors, formed in opposition to this sale. Such a sale contravenes TLC’s own bylaws for inalienable properties, and risks the future of this remarkable ecoforestry education site. We believe it would also contravene the Charitable Purposes Preservation Act. http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/04059_01
We are calling on TLC to find an alternative that will keep Wildwood in public hands. Since TLC can no longer afford to own Wildwood, it must be transferred to a not-for-profit organization that would keep the integrity of the agreement with the community and Merv Wilkinson. Even with a restrictive covenant and management plan, sale to a private party will not honour the agreement to protect this living legacy in perpetuity.
The Ecoforestry Institute Society
The Ecoforestry Institute Society (EIS), is a non-profit organization of professional foresters and other experts who have stewarded Wildwood since 2000, as per the agreement with Merv Wilkinson and TLC. EIS has put forward a proposal that would keep Wildwood protected with a covenant under a charitable land trust ownership, and have offered TLC $600,000 in cash and creditor contributions to help reduce their debt. TLC has not accepted their proposal.
We encourage TLC to work with EIS, or another suitable non-profit agency, towards a solution that fully protects the legacy of Wildwood and keeps it in public hands.
There is no finer example of Ecoforestry on the entire west coast of North America. To lose this source of inspiration which has been used as a model in many community forests in BC, Nova Scotia and even Oregon would be tragic. The opportunity to educate and learn the vital lessons that are possible here at Wildwood would be lost.
Beyond the values as an educational site, Wildwood is also a refuge for 77 acres of endangered Coastal Douglas Fir forest (including 800 year old trees) and a multitude of wildlife that depend on it.
The baby barred owl, pictured here, is one of many owls and woodpeckers born every spring in standing dead trees in Wildwood Ecoforest. The diversity of species which rely on mature forests for survival are testament to Wilkinson’s forest stewardship practices.
Merv Wilkinson passed away in 2011, but his legacy and contributions live on through Wildwood.
If we let Wildwood go, it is gone forever. Please act now.