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

High-traffic Victoria ATM compromised by card skimmer

VicPD suggest ‘wiggle test’ of any bank machine

Oak Bay father charged with double murder takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Raccoon hits vehicle head on, captured on video

One of many strange sights on Sunday for one Victoria cyclist

Saanich councillor slams McKenzie Interchange Project

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project will only create more greenhouses gases and traffic

UPDATED: Police identify suspects of Oak Bay armed robbery

Perpetrators were arrested for allegedly using a firearm to rob Oak Bay Avenue resident

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Liberals block hearings into scathing ethics report on SNC-Lavalin affair

Dion concluded in his report last week that Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act

Retired Richmond fisherman wins record-breaking $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Most Read