Letter: Shaky footing

City of Powell River councillors revealed, at the February 5 Committee of the Whole meeting, that they hadn’t been consulted about Powell River Waterfront Development Corporation’s land sale of 10 acres to Sino Bright, and stated their impression that PRWDC was supposed to work independently of council [“City signs land deal with international school,” February 8].

Yet the actual agreement setting up PRWDC states that “the Company shall make full, frank, and immediate disclosure to the City of all matters coming to the attention of the Company…” PRWDC’s decision to inform council in February of the land deal they signed with Sino Bright last November is hardly “immediate disclosure.”

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PRWDC also legally cannot: “dispose of any interest in the Project except on terms and conditions that are agreed to by City Council.”

Had they been given the opportunity, would councillors have asked for the 10-acre property to be opened up to other potential buyers? Would they have asked for a sale price based on the proposed rezoning and subdivision? Council, though, was in no position to set “terms and conditions” for the Sino Bright deal because it hadn’t been consulted.

Mayor Dave Formosa even disagreed with what is stated in the PRWDC mandate that it is actually supposed to be “developing” property on behalf of the city. It was pointed out that he and other sitting councillors were on council in 2013 when council set up PRWDC.

Formosa expressed exasperation with the fact that this mess will have to go to the city's lawyers to get sorted out, an exasperation undoubtedly shared by taxpayers. Unfortunately, given that they are already overburdened, it would seem that councillors are going to have to spend more time assessing the implications of these kinds of agreements for themselves, not just relying on staff recommendations. People appointed to city boards need to get a clearer orientation on their responsibilities based on legal, written mandates.

However, since PRWDC hasn’t ever actually developed land and almost all of its other responsibilities were related to representing the city on the now defunct PRSC, perhaps PRWDC should fold as well.

These complicated, non-transparent ways of delegating council authority have not seemed to serve the city well.

Ellen Gould
Michigan Avenue

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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