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Monday, December 6, 2021

British Columbia family fighting to keep ranch from foreclosure

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It was a dream come true for a family who moved from Vancouver to start their own 500-acre cattle ranch just outside of Greenwood, BC.

They named it Waikikahei Ranch, which is owned and operated by Amy and Scott Hay and their three children.

“Before this, I was running a shipyard building luxury yachts in Vancouver and Amy was working for an industrial-glass company,” said Scott Hay.

“I grew up farming and we wanted the change and to (change) the quality of life for our kids.”

But less than three years into the opening of the ranch, it’s facing foreclosure, as financial troubles have snowballed for the family.

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The family’s financial troubles began when expected funds from leasing part of their ranch to a hemp operation fell short.

“Once the funds came in from the hemp and it was a lot less than what we were expecting, we had to make the hard decision of looking after our cattle,” said Scott.

“Unfortunately, that made it that we couldn’t make our payments to the FCC at that time.“

Scott Hay says the decision to spend the money on his cattle was necessary to keep the ranch afloat because if he didn’t they would have no income.

The shortfall of funds led to a tumultuous relationship with the Farm Credit Canada, a federal corporation which is mandated to support farmers and ranchers.

“Once we had made that decision and we notified them how the money was dispersed, we were issued a letter of demand for the full amount of our mortgage and line of credit,” said Scott.

The Hays claim the FCC has not accepted a number of proposals that could have settled their outstanding debts.

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“We are not looking for a handout, we are not asking for them to write any debt off, we are just asking for time,” said Amy Scott.

“All of our proposals have been rejected, we are scrambling.”

Waikiki Ranch said it has found new investors and has created a new business plan that could settle its debts, but is just waiting for a new land appraisal.

“We need six weeks to get the new up to date appraisal,” said Amy Scott.

“Then the time it takes for the finance company to dot the I’s and cross the T’s to make the FCC whole.”

With a new land appraisal, the Hays claim they could forward their new plan to the FCC for review. 

While Farm Credit Canada denied Global News’ request for an interview, it did point to court documents to outline its point of view. 

The court filings Global News viewed indicate that the FCC already has been granted a foreclosure order on Waikikahei Ranch that could served at any time.

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In a court document filed in Rossland, it said, “this court declares and orders that (the property) be offered for sale by private sale, free and clear of all encumbrances of the parties, together with any other charges, liens, encumbrances, caveats or certificates of pending litigation registered against the lands, but subject to the reservations, provisos, exceptions and conditions expressed in the original grant thereof from the Crown;

“The petitioner has exclusive conduct of the sale and may list the lands for sale, until further order of the court, and may pay to any real estate agent or firm that arranges a sale of the lands a commission of not more than 7 per cent on the first $100,000 and 2.5 per cent on the remaining balance of the gross selling price to be paid from the proceeds of the gross selling price.

“A sale of the lands is subject to the approval of the court unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the parties.”

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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