Coquitlam land sold below value, NDP says

Minister Amrik Virk says appraisal was "overly aggressive" and sale of 370 acres on Burke Mountain was near assessed value

Real estate sale map of Burke Mountain properties marketed as part of a Crown asset sale last year.

Real estate sale map of Burke Mountain properties marketed as part of a Crown asset sale last year.

The B.C. Liberal government sold land in Coquitlam at as much as $43 million less than its appraised value last year to balance the budget, NDP critics said Tuesday.

The 14 parcels on Burke Mountain in north Coquitlam sold in February 2014 for $85 million. Documents obtained under freedom of information law by the NDP showed an appraised value of $128 million.

One parcel had an appraised value of $5.6 million and was valued by B.C. Assessment Authority this year at $2.3 million. It sold for $100,000 to Wesbild Holdings. Ltd., a long-time residential developer in the area.

Citizens’ Services Minister Amrik Virk, minister responsible for the property sale, said the sale price is similar to the B.C. Assessment Authority value. The appraisal appears to have been “overly aggressive” and the provincial assessment for the lands has declined slightly since then, Virk said.

Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth said residential development has been expanding along Burke Mountain for a decade or more, and in a hot real estate market the transaction looks like a “fire sale” of land. He and NDP leader John Horgan accused the government of rushing the sale to balance the B.C. budget by the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 2014.

“This is prime land in the middle of the Lower Mainland at a time when real estate is at an absolute premium, and we know it’s going to be built on,” Farnworth said. “The city’s already building on parcels that are adjacent to it.”

Virk said the marketing of the properties was put out for bids and Collier’s International won the contract. He was unable to say if Collier’s was given a deadline to close the deal, which came after the properties were on the market for three months.

Only Wesbild offered to buy all 14 parcels, which total 370 acres on the south slope of Burke Mountain.

The sale included a provision to sell two school sites to Coquitlam at the 2014 price, but the school district found later that it would need two more properties for schools.

NDP critics also calculated more than $900,000 in donations to the B.C. Liberal Party by Wesbild director Hassan Khosrowshahi since 2000, individually and through his companies, Burke Mountain, Wesbild, Predator Ridge, Inwest, Westwood Plateau and others.

 

Just Posted

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

UVic Department of Anthropology chair and professor, April Nowell, at home with a copy of her new book, Growing Up In the Ice Age. (Courtesy of April Nowell)
New book by University of Victoria professor explores lives of Ice Age children

April Nowell spent two decades researching archaeological evidence of children, teens

Saanich Neighbourhood Place is hoping to open the doors to its new centre in July, pending final council approval. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich childcare agency awaits final approval on much-needed new facility

Saanich Neighbourhood Place keen to open new centre this summer, expand options for community

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

Victoria police are searching for high-risk missing woman Chloe Morrison who was last seen in Victoria June 13. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Chloe Morrison, last seen in Victoria

Morrison, 25, was last seen shortly after 2 p.m. June 13

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

The cannabis dispensary store, located at 1024 Clark Drive in East Vancouver. (Instagram/Budwayonclark)
Vancouver pot shop owner ordered to pay $40K for copying Subway

Store’s mascot is a red-eyed, cannabis-filled smoking sandwich

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

Most Read