April 14, 2015
VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark’s government rushed through the sale of prime Coquitlam real estate at ruinously low prices only days before the end of the 2013 fiscal year, New Democrats revealed today.
“So much for the myth of Liberal business sense,” said John Horgan, leader of the B.C. New Democrats. “If a private sector executive signed off on this deal they would be cleaning out their desk and scanning the ‘Help Wanted’ ads by now.”
The provincial government hired an independent appraiser in 2013 to determine the value of 14 publicly owned parcels of land in Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain neighborhood. In its detailed 137-page report, Equity Valuation and Consulting advised the government that these public assets would command a $128 million sale price if exposed to the markets for six to nine months.
But Clark’s ministers wouldn’t wait, and only weeks later began accepting offers at dramatically lower prices. Fourteen parcels were sold to the same buyer for only $85 million, fully $43 million less than the appraised value. The Clark Liberals parted with one 16-acre parcel, valued at $5.6 million, for only $100,000.
“The appraiser told the government to wait nine months and get a good price,” said Mike Farnworth, New Democrat MLA for Port Coquitlam. “But the Liberals threw the report to the wind and rushed to sell the land at a massive loss to the taxpayer just so they could pad their budget numbers.”
The purchaser of all 14 land parcels is Hassan Khosrowshahi of Wesbild Holdings Ltd. Khosromshahi and his companies have donated close to $1 million to the B.C. Liberal party since 2000, and a quarter of a million dollars just since the B.C. Liberals began their fire sale of public assets.
New Democrats have been seeking details of the land deal since August of 2014, and had to ask the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to intervene before the B.C. Liberals finally released the appraisal.