POLITICS

Top B.C. court throws out transfer of historic West Vancouver home

12/03/2014 07:23 EST | Updated 02/02/2015 05:59 EST
VANCOUVER - A storied home and National Historic site in West Vancouver has been ordered by B.C.'s top court to be transferred back to the estate of its original owners.

Binning House, built in 1941 for renowned Canadian artist Bertram Binning and his wife Jessie, was known as an example of early West Coast modern architecture and was designated a National Historic Site by Parks Canada in 1998.

After the couple's deaths, the estate's trustees couldn't maintain the home and decided to give it to the Land Conservancy of B.C., but Jessie Binning's will prohibited a direct transfer so a new intermediary society was created.

A court document show the trustees transferred the property in October 2008 to the new society, which immediately transferred it to the land conservancy.

The document says the land conservancy entered creditor protection in early October 2013, just weeks before a $1.6-million unsolicited purchase offer was made on the home.

The University of B.C., which was a beneficiary of Jessie Binning's will, challenged the property's transfer in court and lost but won on appeal, with the top court ruling the sale void and a "fraud on the power given to the trustees."