Keating Farm sale approved for cash-strapped TLC

Historic Keating Farm Estate south of Duncan has new owners after being sold by the financially strapped Land Conservancy. - courtesy TLC
Historic Keating Farm Estate south of Duncan has new owners after being sold by the financially strapped Land Conservancy.
— image credit: courtesy TLC

Keating Farm, Cowichan's farmland-heritage jewel, has been sold to a mainland couple by The Land Conservancy.

TLC spokesman John Shields explained the sale to Georgios and Rebecca Papadopolous — for the $749,00 asking price — fits well with financially strapped TLC's mandate of preserving agricultural land, unique wildlife habitat and architecture.

"It's a wonderful thing," Shields said of the March 7 court-approved sale concerning the 13-hectare spread that's in the agricultural land reserve. The couple was to take possession March 22.

"Its been a farm by a valley farmer who wanted to continue using the land, and the new owners have readily agreed to allow continuation of that use by the present tenant farmer," Shields told the News Leader Pictorial.

Madam Justice Gerow ruled the sale was appropriate, and the purchasers were sensitive to Keating's unique conservation and heritage values.

Those values include preserving the Keating's various buildings, including the farmhouse's great hall, plus leaving a colony of long-ear bats undisturbed in the farm's barn.

"The house is one of the oldest in the Cowichan Valley," Shields said, noting the couple aims to live on the farm.

"Papadopolous an engineer with an interest in preservation of the great hall," he said. "To find purchasers who will continue to honour the place makes us feel we found the right way to ensure preservation of the property."

One could say TLC batted .1000.

"We asked if they would feel comfortable having bats in their barn, and they're delighted," Shields said of the winged insect controllers.

Meanwhile, a restructured TLC issued promissory notes to investors in Keating's mortgage co-op.

"For whatever reason the co-op failed, and TLC took back the shares."

Those notes have gone to a court monitor to oversee honouring of TLC's debts.

"We really think it's a win-win," Shields said. "Sale of Keating is the first sale of a TLC property. It sets a standard of how we hope to proceed, and a testimony of how TLC intends to protect properties."

Proceeds will help TLC retire various debts, and continue operating in B.C.

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