Mayor Promises Openness on SODC

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Sept. 6, 2014

Mayor Rob Kirkham has promised to release more information on all Oceanfront proposals that came before the district and SODC board.

Kirkham said the district is working on a deal with its chosen developers, but will be willing to release more information on who else answered the RFP for the Squamish Oceanfront besides the districts chosen developer, Matthew Southwest and Bethel.

His promise to provide more information comes close on the heels of another FOI rejection by the district. A month ago, the Reporter filed an FOI to seek information on developers who applied for the RFP.

The FOI request was to find “all records” related to evaluation of offers for SODC. The request was rejected by the district. In its reply, the district said: The letter is to advise you that records related to your request have been withheld as the information has been received and discussed in closed meetings.

Kirkham sounded a positive note on the Oceanfront, starting with the partnership itself. He said the limited partnership with the developers meant the district will have the opportunity to receive a 25 per cent profit.

“It’s a limited partnership, so there are no chances to being called upon to inject money or to be liable or responsible for any financial implications,” he said.

Kirkham said while onsite infrastructure is the developer’s responsibility, any offsite infrastructure that benefits others in the community will come out of the common DCC (Development Cost Charge) fund.

The district is updating its DCC bylaw, but there are also plans to upgrade infrastructure in the downtown core. Development of SODC Lands, the district says, will ‘expedite’ infrastructure development and key upgrades to the downtown core.

There isn’t any clarity either on what the developer is willing to offer as far as Development Cost Charge (DCC) is concerned. The district is working to upgrade its DCC bylaw is a condition for sale.

It’s a similar story with community amenity contribution bylaw. There isn’t any information available because the district has yet to create a community amenity contribution bylaw. The developers will, however, benefit from the district’s new tax exemption bylaw, which offers developer tax incentives to encourage development downtown.

Kirkham said the district went to the international market place and investors to participate and deliver the plan.

“We have good financial capabilities, and a motivated developer to bring that to reality,” he said.

That isn’t assessment Larry Murray, the former director of SODC, will agree to.

The pending sale of 59 acres and 44 acres of waterlots is a concerning issue for a community that deserves so much more, he said.

Murray said it would be worthwhile for councilors running again to begin to distance themselves from the deal and start calling for a full review and reconsideration of this ‘deal’.

“A much smaller municipal lot in the industrial park across from Toyota was recently sold for $8 million,” he said.

Coun. Ted Prior, who wasn’t allowed to participate in the discussions surrounding the Oceanfront deal, said he has his reservations about this deal.

“When you have a past directory vying for it, seems to me there is a conflict there,” he said.

 

 

Comments

  1. Douglas R. Day says:

    Mayor promises more opened on the sale of SODC lands to it’s former Vice Chair of the Board.
    What a load of nonsense!!!
    This Mayor would not be capable of negotiating the sale of an old used car
    And here he is leading the sheep into giving away these pricesless waterfront lands
    It is a total disgrace and if the people of Squamish are dumb enough to put him back in Office then they deserve to loose this property
    DRD

  2. Donny says:

    No doubt the purchasers of SODC lands will put the land and the development into “shelf companies” to isolate the project from the rest of their balance sheet.
    In the event of a financial failure, and bail out cash is required to keep it out of the hands of a Receiver, then you bet the District “Limited Partner” (no financial risk says the Mayor) will be the one to have to inject more cash to save the project.
    And by the way , it wasn’t sold for $15million , we had to buy into the new deal for $5million, i.e. we sold 75% for $10million and agreed that we wouldn’t see a penny of any profits OR our $5million UNTIL the developers got back all costs and management fees FIRST. Talk about sucking the hind teet. Are we ever suckers.

  3. Jean says:

    We are all suckered into, to let it happen.. anybody ever approached “Cirque du Soleil or Disney” or others similar, to put up a real show peace, even if we would not own it , can you think of how many long term employment opportunities and probably more full time, then the few now being discovered offered with LNG on a part time 3-5 hr shift base !!

  4. Donny says:

    Well said Doug. ( and who said we didn’t have fun in the 80’s)