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.

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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

LUSH Valley’s partnership with School District 71 this past year helped feed 200 students and families through the Good Food Box program. Screenshot, LUSH Valley/Comox Valley Schools video
LUSH Valley-Comox Valley School Good Food Boxes fed 200 families in 2020

Non-profit organization is looking for new ways to collaborate with school district

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The CVRD building in Courtenay.
Comox Valley organizations in need receive funding

The Comox Valley Regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has approved $55,000 in… Continue reading

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A virtual public hearing for a rezoning application for a Comox property was held on March 3. Black Press file photo
No comments at public hearing for Anderton Road rezoning application

The virtual public hearing was held on March 3 for the Comox properties

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read