CRD Finalizes Purchase of Leech Watershed

    VICTORIA, Dec. 21 /CNW/ - The Capital Regional District and TimberWest
Forest Corp. have completed a land purchase transaction that adds almost 9,700
hectares of forest land to the CRD. The acquisition is intended to protect the
region's drinking water supply and to add new regional park land.
    "The signing of this transaction represents the successful completion of
one of the largest, most important land acquisitions in recent BC history,"
said Nils Jensen, Chair of the CRD Regional Water Supply Commission. "With the
closing of this deal, we have taken action to protect the region's water
supply well into the future."
    Now the CRD will manage nearly 20,000 hectares of land dedicated to the
protection of the region's water supply. The purchase also allows the CRD to
avoid substantial future capital costs of more than $150 million associated
with the construction and operation of a new water treatment facility.
    "TimberWest is delighted to be able to pass the management of the Leech
River watershed into the capable and visionary stewardship of the Capital
Regional District," said Paul McElligott, president and CEO, TimberWest Forest
    The purchase also increases the total regional park area to nearly 11,400
hectares, and will add significantly to the Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt, a
wilderness corridor stretching from the Sooke Basin to Saanich Inlet.
    "The new park land adds considerably to our ability to protect and
preserve the region's ecological capital," said Christopher Causton, Chair of
CRD Parks Committee.
    The Leech River watershed comprises 2.5 per cent of TimberWest's overall
timber base. The transfer of the lands will not affect cut levels or
employment levels.
    The transaction is valued at $64.7 million.

    TimberWest Corporate Profile

    TimberWest Forest Corp. is uniquely positioned as the largest owner of
private forest lands in western Canada. The Company owns in fee simple
approximately 334,000 hectares or 825,000 acres of private timberland that,
over the previous five years, have provided an annual average harvest of
2.594 million m(3) of logs and have an approximate annual growth rate of
8.0 m(3) per hectare per year on the productive land base. These timberlands
are located on Vancouver Island and the majority of the land base supports the
growth of Douglas fir, a premium tree species sought after for structural
purposes. TimberWest runs fully-contracted harvesting operations. With almost
80% of the Company's annual private land logging now being done in
second-growth stands, TimberWest leads the Coastal industry in the growing and
harvesting of second-growth timber.
    The Company's independent auditor, KPMG Performance Registrar Inc.,
periodically certifies that the forest management practices on the Company's
private timberland continue to meet all Sustainable Forestry Initiative
(SFI(R)) requirements. SFI requirements specify that forest harvesting is
integrated with environmental and conservation goals for soil, wildlife, water
quality protection, conservation of biodiversity, protection of special sites
and aesthetics in a manner that ensures a sustainable harvest over the
    TimberWest also owns renewable Crown harvest rights to 0.7 million m(3)
of logs per year and operates a sawmill located near Campbell River, BC.
    In addition, approximately 38,000 hectares or 94,000 acres of the
Company's private forest lands have been identified as having greater value as
real estate properties and will progressively be made available for higher
uses over the next ten to fifteen years. The Company reviews its land base on
a periodic basis to update the size of its portfolio of higher use properties.
    Stapled Units of TimberWest Forest Corp. are traded on the Toronto Stock
Exchange under the symbol: TWF.UN
    Visit us at our web site:

    %SEDAR: 00009326E

For further information:

For further information: Bev Park, Executive Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer, Telephone: (604) 654-4600, Facsimile: (604) 654-4662,

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