Richmond Garden City Lands ( GCL ): What is the FUTURE PART ( 3) ????
So as of this date…City has paid approx. $ 60 Million for land previously assessd at $10 million
In addition, via acquiring ownership, the City has lost approx. $40,000 annually in property taxes that once flowed into City coffers)as Gov’ts do not pay property taxes on lands they own)
However , if one has an understanding of how property taxes work….this revenue shortage is made up by other Richmond property owners.
However, in addition to this, the City has forgone any interest that previously accrued from the $60 Million it once had in Richmond civic reserves.
Now, given interest rates for deposits…which vary according to a number of variables ie between 1.5% to 2 % plus…it is fair to say the City is losing approx. $1 MILLION in interest annually….excluding the compounding factor…
This is very embarrassing.
Or is it ?
If o e is familiar wiht the ALR and the ALC Act…any exclusion of the lands from the ALR must ultimately be approved by the ALC.
The City in partnership with the CLC and Musqueam, made (2) attempts for ALR exclusion of the GCL.
The first attempt was under the auspices of the CLC making application as the “owner” and the City agreeing to approve the application ( anothe r part of the exclusion process…. ie the Local Gov’t has to FIRST approve the ALR Exclusion application.)
The ALC ultimately denied that 1st ALR exclusion application.
Then the City, CLC and Musqueam re-grouped and the City submitted a BLOCK Application.
Effectively, the City can apply directly to the ALC for an ALR exclusion
Give theALC is a quasi-judicial body…one can appeal a decision.
However , a review of ALC case study shows that simply making an appeal is not like rolling the dice to get lucky a 2nd time
Past ALC decisions clearly indicate that unless an appeal application submits new information or shows an error on part of the ALC,etc ……appeals lacking the aforementioned will not be entertained.
Hence, the only real option was for the City to try another route available to it..the BLOCK application
The ALC denied that 2nd attempt via the BLOCK application.
Effectively the City, CLC and Musqueam ran out of options
It is interesting to note that for all intents and purposes, the ALC based much of its 2nd decision(DENIAL) on the original decision’s (DENIAL) points of reference, ie the ALC agrologist report on the GCL soil and that opinion the GCL site was suitable for agriculture.
So.what next ?
Since the purchase of the GCL by the City….I have alwsy suspected some backroom deal was in the works.
It will be excluded from the ALR sooner or later.
It was clear during the GCL Public Hearings that the vast majority of Richmond citizens did not want the GCL removed for the ALR and developed, and for a number of reasons.
However this current Council has shown a quasi – pathological detest for the Richmond Citizens, and simply abuses it elected empowerment to facilitate a number of agendas
Pure and Simple, when the time is ripe, the Prvincial Gov’t will find some ” excuse” to exclude the GCL from the ALR …my guess is under some community benefit propoganda campaign.
However what piqued my curiosity was a recently tabled Staff Report
If one observes PG 8 of the Staff report dated FEB. 23, 2011, one will notice Facility # 6 : MINORU AQUATICS CENTER
The timeline involved is 2012 to 2014
The capital cost is $ 56.3 Million
As per usual the chart shows various ” piggy banks” the City will use to fund this.
So…WHERE are they going to build it ?
I asked that very question to City Hall.
I also asked for an engineering report so as to determine the need…aka is the existing one falling down?
To date I have had NO response
Building a new pool at Minoru ?
There is no room to the East of the existing facility …they would never cut down the heritage trees.
To the West? is the parking lot….but this City is very focussed on frivolous aesthetics and I doubt it would want the view of the track and soccer field blocked.
Also note…the timeline for construction is AFTER the Nov. 2011 Civic elections.
Also be aware that Metro Van Local Gov’ts passed a motion requesting the Provincial Gov’t approve Local Gov’ts terms in office be extended from the current (3 ) years to ( 4 ) year terms.
This would buy Local Gov’ts more time to slide in agendas and depend on Public’s short memory
All the evidence clearly suggests that the GCL being excluded from the ALR , shortly after the Nov. 2011 civic elections, when we, the Richmond citizens, have no more say. and are stuck with Richmond Council.
I have suggested to some parties that they insist Richmond Council place a covenant on the GCL property that unambiguously states any removal from the ALR must be via majority approval of the Richmond citizens via referndum.
However, it seems the GCL (ALR)supporters have some misguided and misplaced faith in the City…all talk and no action…….and will ultimately set themselves up for major disappointment via sitting on their hands and not going to the next level of pro-activeness.
The City is fully aware of this this and will take full advantage of it.
I will leave it at that