Two more appointees resign from PCC board
Feb 23 2012
Dean MurdockPhotograph by: Supplied photo , timescolonist.com
Two more municipal appointees to the Provincial Capital Commission board resigned Thursday.
Saanich councillors Dean Murdock and Nichola Wade have resigned.
Murdock, on the board since December 2008, said a recent restructuring of the commission puts the region’s heritage properties and assets at risk.
Wade works for the provincial government in the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and said she could be in a conflict of interest. She asked Mayor Frank Leonard to release her from PCC duties, while Murdock tendered a letter of resignation to PCC board chairman Bill Wellburn.
“As a provincial government employee, I have taken an oath of office,” Wade said. It could be perceived that she is in a conflict, Wade said, so she resigned.
Leonard said he will wait and “see how this all settles before replacing them, if at all.”
The PCC board announced in its new budget that some of the agency’s property would go on the market.
Victoria councillor Geoff Young resigned yesterday, saying that being on the board “does more harm to the interests of the city than good.”
The province wants to sell up to 100 “surplus” properties and buildings to raise $706 million to help balance the budget. The government will not release the list of properties. Cuthbert Holmes Park in Saanich is a PCC property. The eight-hectare park is leased to the municipality until December 2086. It is not known if that is one of the “surplus” properties the province is referring to.
“The recent announcement that Crown-owned properties within the capital will be sold confirms that our region’s heritage properties and assets are at risk,” Murdock wrote in his letter of resignation. “I will not be a participant to either the dismantling of the commission or the sale of our region’s properties, which, in my view, is at odds with the mandate of the commission and a disservice to the residents of the capital region. These properties are our connection to our capital’s history and are the assets of this and future generations. They should be preserved in perpetuity.”
There are 14 directors on the board, six appointed by Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay and Esquimalt. The other eight are appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.
Councillor Ben Isitt, the second Victoria appointment, said he will not resign from the board at this time.
“I’m not resigning at this stage but I fully respect what they decide to do. I think it also benefits the city to have a representative challenging the proposed selling off of assets sitting at the board table,” Isitt said. “It’s of benefit to the city to have someone challenging the sales and standing up for the city’s interest from the inside.”
• The Provincial Capital Commission has a portfolio of more than 80 properties, acquired since 1956.
• Total assessed value of property assets in the Capital Region: $118.2 million, according to the PCC’s 2010-2011 annual report. Valuable properties include St. Ann’s Academy, 835 Humboldt St., assessed at $21.9 million,
• Its green spaces run along the “Galloping Goose Regional Trail and the two major highways that lead into the capital city. Many of these properties preserve the existing trail system and the natural beauty of the viewscapes along the highway approaches to the capital,” the PCC said on its website.
• Since 2006, the PCC has supported 20,000 youth from around B.C. to visit and learn about Victoria. Revenue from PCC properties pays for programs.
• Property revenues for 2011 were $2.1 million from tenants, $696,030 from parking lots, and $129,022 from St. Ann’s Academy, said the annual report.
• Targeted 2012-2013 revenues from corporate assets: $3.2 million, the PCC’s service plan said.
• Any disposition of land has to be approved by an order in council.
• Since 2006, net proceeds from disposing of non-core open space lands for roads and other municipal requirements total $1 million, the annual report said.
• Crystal Garden, now operating as part of the city of Victoria’s conference centre.
• CPR Steamship Terminal building on Belleville Street, to be leased to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to sublet for retail and office use.
• St. Ann’s Academy, 835 Humboldt St.
• 613 Pandora Ave. PCC head office.
• Belleville Street Terminal lands serving ferries.
• Stores building, built in 1912, at Belleville and Pendray streets.
• Ship Point Plaza and Enterprise Wharf on the Inner Harbour.
• Parking lots, including a large chunk of land on Wharf Street.
• The 1931 Art Deco 812 Wharf St. visitor information centre and retail space.
• Quadra Park at Belleville and Oswego streets, overlooking the Coho ferry terminal.
• Reeson Park, at the foot of Yates Street.
• Cuthbert Holmes Park, under a long term lease with Saanich.
• Mill Hill Park.