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

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Sooke’s First Nations have Iroquois links

References to the proud Iroquois race tend to make one think of… Continue reading

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

Funnyman coming to the West Shore

Comedy and television staple Billy Gardell performs at Elements Casino

Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Founder Sgt. Paul Brookes has run camp empowering youth and creating leaders for 16 years

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read