Monday, February 23, 2015

Success in Saanich! Maltby Lake to receive new environmental protection

Gillian Harvey (Pip Holmes' granddaughter),
Carmel Thomson, Patrick Brown and MLA Lana
Popham. BC Supreme Court, February 23, 2015
April 2, 2015 Breaking News!
Today the Supreme Court of BC formally accepted TLC's restructuring plan. This includes the agreement to sell most of TLC's interest in Maltby lake for $750,000 to Woody and Carmel Thomson. This is a huge victory for the environment and for those who want to see pristine Maltby Lake protected forever. The agreement of sale to Woody and Carmel (who are the long-time environmental stewards of this land) includes a covenant that requires them to dedicate the land as a park and conservation area. In effect, Woody and Carmel are making a $750,000 donation to protect Maltby Lake. Wow!

March 30 2015 Update
Creditors today accepted TLC's plan to restructure and exit bankruptcy protection. The plan would see ecological protections maintained for Maltby Lake.

March 19 2015 Update:
Maltby Lake update. On March 30 the TLC's creditors will vote on the court monitor-approved TLC plan to pay off its debts. Most of the creditors are prepared to accept the plan. They will get almost all of their money back, but in accepting this plan they are also agreeing to take less money than they would have if the bankruptcy process had operated as it usually does, liquidating assets for the highest possible return. And if that happens this case will make legal history. You might think it is a no-brainer (I do) but if all goes well we will have an important legal judgement emphasizing the logic that it is necessary to give "robust" consideration to the ecological value of land when it is being sold through bankruptcy proceedings. This resolution to the TLC troubles is far from perfect but it is important to note that a number of key properties will be protected In Saanich South, hard work by many people is expected to strengthen the environmental protections for Maltby Lake.

In October of 2013, the Land Conservancy of BC was granted creditor protection by the Supreme Court of BC.

The protection was to give it time to come up with a plan to avoid bankruptcy. The TLC currently owes creditors 8.4 million dollars.

Just moments ago the TLC's plan was approved by the Court.

The plan will see TLC repay most of the money owing to creditors while respecting its mandate to protect property with high ecological or heritage value.

There is a fine balance here. Nowhere is this more evident than with Maltby Lake.

As I have written previously, Maltby Lake is an extraordinarily important and robust ecosystem in Saanich.

Under the plan approved by the court today, the TLC will sell 83% of its interest in Maltby Lake for $750,000.

All of this money will go to TLC’s creditors.

It is important to note that Maltby Lake land was not sold to the highest bidder, but to the buyer best able to protect its ecological value. This shows TLC’s commitment to protecting the land it owns.

The purchaser will be Woody and Carmel Thomson, the long-time environmental stewards of that land. Their personal generosity and commitment to the environment are worthy of genuine praise and thanks from all residents of Saanich. The sale of this land includes legally-enforceable provisions protecting its ecology.

The TLC intends to sell the remaining 6% of its Maltby Lake share to the Friends of the Maltby Lake Watershed Society. I look forward to working with the Thomsons and the Society to reach this goal.

The court decision today is of tremendous value to the people of Saanich. Thanks in large part to the dedication and financial contributions of the Maltby Lake Society, and Woody and Carmel Thomson, as well as to the hard work and passion of TLC, we now have a court sanctioned and legally-enforceable plan to protect a large portion of Maltby Lake.  

I am also pleased to note that the TLC will be retaining ownership and maintaining its support of Madrona Farm, its other property in my constituency. Land trusts like this one are a key method for British Columbia to ensure that valuable agricultural land remains accessible to young farmers. 

Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South