Rabbit Island back on market

As Canadian buyer loses fiscal momentum, owners are considering canceling the deal to find a new prospective buyer.

October 20, 2007|By Joseph Serna

Rabbit Island is for sale again.

Orange Coast College’s 36-acre island in British Columbia was in escrow with a Canadian businessman, but he is struggling to come up with the money, OCC Foundation Executive Director Doug Bennett said Friday.

“We’re actively trying to sell the property,” he said.

One prospective buyer visited the island last week, Bennett said.

The island is priced at $2.495 million and is listed on LandQuest Realty Corporation’s website,, under its new listings.

The college was supposed to close escrow on Oct. 10 after four months of negotiations, but the buyer did not get the loan he was expecting.


Bennett suggested the foundation may sever ties with the man next week and move on.

The island, about 50 miles north of Vancouver at the top of the Strait of Georgia, was donated to the college by yachting enthusiast Henry Wheeler in 2003.

Until fall 2006, the college used the rural island for sailing, biology and photography classes in the summer.

According to a report released in February, the island’s maintenance was too costly. School officials had already spent more than $500,000 refurbishing the island and projected an annual $150,000 price tag to continue maintaining it.

To replace the island, foundation officials are working toward an agreement with a Catalina Island conservancy group for a three- to five-year lease on a cove there by Dec. 1. The lease is estimated to be between $15,000 to $20,000. The cove would be used for the same instructional purposes as Rabbit Island.

JOSEPH SERNA may be reached at (714) 966-4619 or at

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