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.

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

Bella Coola to benefit from massive investment in coastal internet

A combined investment of $45.4 million will bring new and updated high-speed internet on the coast

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

O’Reilly trial scheduled to start January 15 for Anahim Lake murders

O’Reilly is charged with first-degree murder

School District 49 to re-open Nusatsum Elementary in September 2018

SD49 says increasing enrollment is driving its decision to re-open the school

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read