Letter: Powell River Waterfront Development Corporation had legal authority

I take exception to George Orchiston claiming something in a newspaper of public record that he knows is not true.

In his viewpoint [“Old golf course lands zoned for industrial purposes,” April 5] he repeated his earlier assertion made to City of Powell River Council that Powell River Waterfront Development Corporation (PRWDC) did not have the authority to enter into the sales agreement with Sino Bright Investments. However, on February 19, council informed Mr. Orchiston that the city’s lawyers had confirmed PRWDC in fact did have the legal authority.

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The restriction in the partnering agreement between the city and PRWDC applies only to lands previously owned by city, and the city has never owned the old golf course lands. PRWDC acquired this parcel from PRSC.

Mr. Orchiston has a similar misunderstanding of section 21 of the 1951 provincial statute creating the municipality, which prevents the city from restricting industrial activity on these lands and nothing more. It does not restrict other activities. Mr. Orchiston is attempting to read something into section 21 that is not there.

Ironically, Mr. Orchiston’s rant appeared in the same issue of the Peak that reported on the city’s CFO presenting a very bleak draft budget to council. As finance committee chair Rob Southcott put it, “the city’s costs are exceeding revenues,” and as councillor Jim Palm stated, “we’re between a rock and a hard place.”

We need an expanded diversified tax base, which has been part of PRWDC’s mandate. Sino Bright School was intended as part of the city’s economic development initiative. Mr. Orchiston has helped to kill the sale which, incidentally, a current appraisal confirms was at fair market value for this raw undeveloped land (and not waterfront) with no legal road access and no sewer, water or power.

And yes, Sino Bright would have been paying sorely needed taxes or equivalent to the city. Perhaps Mr. Orchiston can now give it a rest.

Wayne Brewer
Westview Avenue

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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