Provincial gov’t public land sales: Moody Centre

Provincial gov’t public land sales: Moody Centre

Below: MOTI is short form for the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

 

The Vancouver Sun published a piece of investigative journalism on sale of public lands including parcels close to the Moody Centre Skytrain station.

At the Port Moody public hearing on Moody Centre transit-oriented development, there were many development interests present to advocate for high density. Some of the names re-appear in the article and opinion below.

Sold on your behalf: 164 B.C. schools and hospitals, agricultural and industrial lots worth $1 billion, Vancouver Sun, June 14, 2019

Excerpt (click on article title above for full story):

“Developer buys four prime properties without a competitive bid

The province sold four properties beside the new Moody Centre SkyTrain Station — an area pegged for massive growth — between October 2017 and May 2018. The total sale price was $29 million, which the province said was based on independent appraisals.

In each case, the buyer was a numbered company created about a month before the sale with former Kwikwetlem First Nations chief Ron Giesbrecht listed as director.

On the very same day each lot was purchased, the director of the numbered company was changed from Giesbrecht to developer Ryan Beedie.

When asked about these transactions, the province told Postmedia there was a legal obligation to sell the four lots to the Kwikwetlem at market value after the First Nation signed an agreement with the Liberal government in February 2013 as accommodation for SkyTrain’s Evergreen Line project.

Accommodation agreements were signed in the majority of public land sales investigated by Bellringer, she wrote in her report, “to compensate for the development of land over which Indigenous title has not been resolved.”

Therefore, there was no competitive bidding process, the government said, and once the First Nation owned the lots, it could do what it wanted with them.

Postmedia asked both Beedie Developments and Kwikwetlem if this was a fair use of these agreements — because the government lost out on a competitive bidding process, even though the ownership of the well-located properties was immediately transferred to a non-Indigenous developer.

Kwikwetlem refused to answer any questions about the transactions, including how much the band profited. A spokeswoman said Giesbrecht “is no longer within leadership” at KFN and wasn’t available for comment.

Curtis Neeser, Beedie’s vice-president of residential development, provided a brief statement that said: “The properties that you are asking about were presented to our company in 2017 by Colliers, a real estate brokerage company that was marketing them on behalf of the KFN, and we purchased them in a competitive bidding process. There were multiple offers for the lots and we were the successful bidder.”

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Following the Vancouver Sun article, an opinion piece by former Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus appeared in the Georgia Straight.

Patti Bacchus: B.C. Liberals’ land-sales scheme was worse than you know, Georgia Straight, June 20, 2019

Excerpt:

“Here’s the thing. In her series, Culbert notes Beedie donated $668,000 to the Liberals between 2005 and 2018. It’s not the only time Beedie’s name appears in Culbert’s series on the Liberals’ sale of public lands. She also reported on a $29-million sale of four provincially owned lots beside the new Moody Centre SkyTrain centre to a company that listed former Kwikwetlem First Nation chief Ron Giesbrecht as its director, without a competitive bidding process. But that’s not the end of it.”

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The Moody Centre Community Association reported on city discussions and public hearing for high density transit-oriented development near the Moody Centre Skytrain. Links to a couple of webposts are below. The second one contains the map that appears at the top of this post, and was part of the public hearing material.

The Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA) welcomes your comments.

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