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November 09, 2015




Victoria, BC – The Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC) and the Ecoforestry Institute Society (EIS) have now signed an agreement to transfer ownership of Wildwood Ecoforest to EIS in exchange for a $900,000 contribution. The agreed upon offer includes $110,000 in TLC creditor forgiveness and $790,000 in direct funds.

TLC acquired Wildwood Ecoforest from Merv Wilkinson and his family in 2000 with TLC Member and donor support, with the goal of operating the site as an example of Merv’s practice of sustainable eco-forestry.

The agreement includes a covenant and management plan to be approved by ecoforestry expert Herb Hammond to ensure the operation continues in Merv’s vision.

To accomplish the transfer of Wildwood Ecoforest to EIS, TLC will need to seek the approval of the Supreme Court of B.C. Madam Justice Fitzpatrick has ruled that she has the jurisdiction to over-rule the bylaw provision that was a hindrance to the transfer of properties declared inalienable by TLC.

“The Ecoforestry Institute Society is thrilled to acquire Wildwood and hold it on behalf of the public,” said Peter Jungwirth, EIS Chair. “EIS has a long association with Wildwood and our ability to continue as stewards of Wildwood honours Merv Wilkinson’s vision and legacy. We are forever grateful to all our donors. We would especially like to acknowledge the Wildwood Protectors who gave Wildwood a strong public voice in recent months. The support and faith the entire community has shown us is rewarding and humbling, and we hope we can continue to rely on that support as we move forward to unfold the full potential of Wildwood.”

“We have received a great deal of feedback from the community surrounding Wildwood Ecoforest as well as from our membership,” said Cathy Armstrong, Acting Director of Operations for TLC. “With this agreement we can achieve all of the desired outcomes: Wildwood will continue to be owned by a non-profit organization; TLC’s creditors will be paid according to the Supreme Court of B.C. sanctioned Plan of Arrangement; and Merv Wilkinson’s legacy will continue to be protected through a covenant and management plan.”

“We have worked carefully and diligently to implement the Plan of Arrangement and ensure that TLC is in compliance with the Charitable Purposes Preservation Act (CPPA) to ensure donors’ intentions of charitable gifts continue,” said Briony Penn, Chair of TLC’s Board. “The Board and I are pleased that we could come to an agreement for the best use and future care of Wildwood. We are on track to do what we intended since entering CCAA two years ago; our properties will remain protected through appropriate new ownership and covenants while we raise funds to repay creditors.”

TLC will bring the offer to Court by early December. The agreement calls for the transfer of the property to be completed by December 11, 2015. Funds from the sale will pay TLC creditors according to the agreed upon Plan.

About The Land Conservancy of BC:
The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) is a non-profit, charitable Land Trust working throughout British Columbia. TLC’s primary mandate is to benefit the community by protecting habitat for natural communities of plants and animals. Founded in 1997, TLC is membership-based and governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors.  TLC relies on a strong membership and volunteer base to help maintain its operations.

About the Ecoforestry Institute Society
The Ecoforestry Institute Society is a charitable non-profit society established in 1995 and comprised of ecoforestry and associated professionals. They have been the official managers of Wildwood forest since 2001 and volunteer their expertise, time, money and passion to steward Wildwood in an ecologically sustainable manner and to further the science and practice of ecoforestry in general. They continue to honour the principles and legacy of Merv Wilkinson, who first practiced ecoforestry at Wildwood.

Media contacts:
Cathy Armstrong, Acting Director of Operations (250) 479-8053
Briony Penn, TLC Board Chair (250) 653-9996
Barry Gates, EIS Vice Chair: (250) 704-9469
Kathy Code, EIS Communications Director: (250) 418-5313