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Land partnership buyout completes

Resident takes issue with line of credit for city corporation

Tla’amin (Sliammon) Nation and City of Powell River completed the transaction to purchase Catalyst Paper Corporation’s interest in the PRSC Limited Partnership, a joint venture that was established by the three parties in 2006 to sell and redevelop lands that were surplus to Catalyst’s operations.

Through its wholly owned corporations, Powell River Waterfront Development Corporation (PRWDC), owned by the city, and Tees’kwat Land Holdings Ltd. (Tla’amin), the parties retired the mortgage being carried by PRSC and acquired Catalyst’s interest in the limited partnership for $3 million.

Mayor Dave Formosa said, “We looked at it as an opportunity for Sliammon and the city to develop and carry out their strategic initiatives, while simultaneously assisting Catalyst during its restructuring. We felt the amount to retire the mortgage and acquire the company’s interest in the limited partnership was more than fair.”

Tla’amin Chief Councillor Clint Williams said the completion of the purchase re-establishes a connection to lands that are economically important to Sliammon, and to the city. As part of the transaction, Tla’amin and the city agreed to secure two equal-sized parcels of land (5.5 acres each) on PRSC’s marine industrial property (District Lot 4070) for individual economic development goals.

“One of the reasons Tla’amin became involved in the limited partnership was to secure land to establish a log dump and sort for its forestry operations,” Williams said. “This transaction not only allows PRSC to retire the mortgage for a fair price, but to secure the lands necessary to ensure the success of Thichum Forest Products.”

As a result of this transaction, the limited partnership board will be restructured to have three representatives from each partner. Representing Tees’kwat will be Williams, Councillor Walter Paul and Sliammon Development Corporation President Roy Francis. Representing PRWDC will be Shehzad Somji, city chief financial officer, and Powell River resident appointees Kevin Sigouin and Chris Roddan.

The financial dealings of PRWDC came under scrutiny at the Thursday, September 18, city council meeting. A motion for the city to secure a line of credit for PRWDC for $100,000 was approved. The rationale was that PRWDC requires annual operating funds. The company does not yet have revenue and so the sole shareholder, the city, is funding the operation.

The funds were required immediately to complete the buyout of Catalyst’s shares for PRSC, as PRWDC is $60,000 short for its share of the accounts payable.

During question period at the meeting, resident George Orchiston had a number of queries related to the line of credit. In a letter to the city the following day, he said an advertisement had been placed in the classified section of The Weekend Shopper indicating city council intended to provide assistance to PRWDC through a line of credit guaranteed by the city from First Credit Union.

“It would be reasonable to conclude that senior city staff facilitated the placement of this public notice before city council adopted the resolution authorizing the provision of assistance to the PRWDC,” Orchiston stated. “If this was the case, I would find this conduct totally unacceptable.”

He said he did not believe the notice was in compliance with the Community Charter. Orchiston stated the city must comply with the Community Charter and provide the public proper notice of the city’s intent to guarantee a $100,000-line of credit for PRWDC through First Credit Union.

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