Ecoforestry Institute Society is close to gaining possession of Wildwood Ecoforest.
The 31-hectare site in Cedar was sold by late sustainable logging pioneer Merve Wilkinson to The Land Conservancy in 2000 with the expectation it would remain in the public domain, but the conservancy is looking to sell, due to multimillion-dollar debt.
The non-profit society reached a deal with the conservancy in November for close to $900,000, which will require B.C. Supreme Court approval. Kathy Code, society spokeswoman, said that could come on June 16.
“The court date was changed from April 26 … because the attorney general had some concerns. They want the the trust and (land) covenant to be registered on the title ahead of the mortgages that we were forced to get to acquire Wildwood, so that court date is still to happen yet.
“We’re in thorough agreement with that – that’s exactly what we wanted to have happen,” said Code.
The society must submit a forest management plan to Herb Hammond, a forest ecologist respected by both organizations, by May 8. Barry Gates, society vice-chairman, said Hammond will examine a trust arrangement with the attorney general to ensure there is no conflict between the arrangement, the covenant and plan.
“TLC will also have an opportunity to provide comments on what they think should be in the management plan and Herb … will then determine what the final management plan covenant looks like,” said Gates.
With the changeover, Code said there will be new programs to introduce.
“We’re going to continue the timber harvesting, that’s part of Merve’s legacy and the vision that he wanted to see in terms of ecoforestry, so we’ll continue that likely in the fall, but we also want to do some value-added programs, so that we’ll be producing timber and producing timber products then that will be for sale,” said Code.
She said the society will be hosting an open house at Wildwood, located on 2929 Crane Rd. in Cedar, on May 15.