Seven years after making what some observers saw as a questionable land purchase, the Capital Regional District made a tidy $3.7-million profit from the sale of two Esquimalt warehousing properties bought as part of the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project.
That 16.7 per cent return on investment is coming back to the project’s seven participating municipalities. The CRD’s governance and finance committee on Wednesday, July 29 forwarded to the CRD board a recommendation to use the proceeds of the sales to reduce the amount of borrowing needed for the project.
The finalization of an $11.1-million deal for a property at 836 Viewfield Rd., sold to a “Vancouver based real estate investor,” according to the CRD and successfully completed divesting of the land. This parcel and an adjacent property at 808 Viewfield Rd. – sold in June 2019 for $11.25 million to Spinnaker’s Brewery – were bought for a combined $17 million in 2013 as a potential site for the wastewater biosolids processing facility.
While the purchase price raised eyebrows back then, the eventual profit will no doubt turn some of the frowns to smiles, said committee member and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice.
|Breakdown shows how the proceeds of the sale of two Viewfield Road properties by the Capital Regional District will come back to the participating municipalities in the region’s wastewater treatment project. It will be up to local governments to determine how that translates to lower taxes for property owners. (Courtesy Capital Regional District)|
“Anybody who’s a taxpayer paying into this project will be quite satisfied that their money is being well spent. This was certainly a nice piece of decision making, to be able to make this final sale and return the proceeds to the taxpayers,” she said.
Brice recalled the controversy surrounding the prospect of locating the biosolids plant in Esquimalt, a relatively short distance from the main wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point. Esquimalt residents and council argued the Township was already carrying its fair share by hosting the treatment plant, she said. Upon weighing the environmental aspects and community impact of using the Viewfield properties for this purpose, a decision was made to pump the biosolids to Hartland Landfill.
After that a goal was established to sell the two properties “only at a time and price that would benefit our taxpayers.”
In the meantime, CRD staff have worked with tenants on improvements to the warehouse properties, to the point where the regional district was ready to relinquish ownership.
Driftwood Brewery is the new main tenant at 836 Viewfield Rd. and plans to shift all of its operations there once renovations are done. Spinnaker’s Brewery, the Mustard Seed Street Church and the Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park operate out of 808 Viewfield Rd.