Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria praise Saanich’s decision to purchase a 2.2-hectare parcel of land between Kings Road and Haultain Street, while calling for additional transparency and ways to ease the financial burden.

Grumpy Taxpayer$ praise Saanich plan to purchase surplus BC Hydro land

Group calls for additional transparency and cost-savings

A local advocacy group praises Saanich’s conditional purchase of a land deemed surplus by BC Hydro.

Saanich announced Jan. 30 the agreement to purchase a 2.2-hectare parcel of land between Kings Road and Haultain Street for $5.5 million from BC Hydro.

Bruce Kennedy from the Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria said the organization remains concerned about council’s reluctance to deal with the municipality’s infrastructure.

“That said, it’s rare that a large parcel of land is available and so we commend council for listening to the community and looking for a creative way to pay the $5.5 million bill,” said Kennedy.

RELATED: Saanich in agreement to purchase Kings Road land for $5.5 million

READ ALSO: B.C. Hydro to offer sale of Kings Road land to Saanich

Saanich’s announcement marks a major turning point in the history of the property. BC Hydro has owned the property since 1958 and recently determined it is surplus to its needs. It offered the land to the provincial government, Crown agencies and local First Nations, before Saanich accepted the opportunity to purchase it following a community campaign to turn the land into a public park.

Saanich, for its part, has not yet announced its plans for the land. Mayor Fred Haynes said decisions about land use – including the possibility of park or development use – will be made in the future, mostly based on the ability to raise $2.75 million.

“If Saanich council is unable to raise this amount to offset the incurred debt, Saanich intends to dispose of a portion of the property to recuperate some of the cost,” said spokesperson Kelsie McLeod.

Potential funding sources include other local governments, community associations and organizations and residents, with more information coming forward at a later date.

Kennedy cited these aspects in his analysis. “At this point it’s important to remember it’s just land and may or may not become a park, with any added benefit of improving the quality of life and the environment for its residents,” he said.

RELATED: B.C. Hydro assesses potential ‘Kings Park’ land at $6 million

RELATED: Still no plans for B.C. Hydro land between Haultain and Kings

“In our view defraying the cost for taxpayers by using a portion of the land for social or student housing is an option that should be looked at closely,” he said. Saanich, he added, could also review its assets to ease the pain for taxpayers.

“The CRD has in the past purchased land for parks, so an urban park should also be a realistic option,” he said.

Kennedy said he is not sure though that other municipalities will help Saanich. “Asking Oak Bay and the City of Victoria for tax dollars will be a non-starter with its residents,” he said.

Saanich will consider a financial plan amendment to borrow $4 million toward the purchase price, with the other $1.5 million coming from reserve funds.

“Council has understandably discussed the purchase of this property to date through in-camera sessions,” said Kennedy. “Grumpy Taxpayer$ urges council to rise and report on those previous sessions, and to…show transparency on the project.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Number of adults living with parents has doubled since 1995

9 per cent of the adult population living with one or more parent

Victoria Guard Commander leads group of snowmen after ceremony cancelled

Lt.-Cmdr. Michael Irwin wasn’t going to let a bit of snow strip him of his duties

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

Victoria saw more snowfall this month compared to other major cities

Victoria normally sees about 6 cm of snow in February

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read