Point Hope Shipyard Turntable

The City lands on which Point Hope Shipyard operates are not sold. And the negotiations are not being conducted secretly. I voted with the majority to rise and report on Council’s willingness to consider an offer from Ralmax so that we could discuss this potential land sale with residents in advance of any decision.

Here’s where I stand. To say the City should never sell public lands, ever, under any circumstance is too simplistic. The issue is far more complicated; each situation in which the City considers the sale of public lands is unique and needs to be treated as such, weighing the benefits and the costs. In this case, there are many questions to be answered, which I’ll outline in a moment.

I voted in favour of entertaining an offer from Ralmax to buy the lands at Harbour Road that have been used for ship building for the last 100 years or so. I didn’t vote to sell the lands. As a responsible steward of the City’s assets I want to gather as much information as possible to make a good decision. To me a good decision is one that considers the best long-term benefit to the City and its residents. 

These are some things I’m considering:

»   I want to know what the anchor tenant, who has made significant ($17 million) leasehold improvements, is willing to pay for the land.

»   I want to assess whether it’s of long-term financial benefit to the City to lease the land or to sell it now and re-invest money from the sale into other much-needed capital improvements such as a new swimming pool, a new library or any other of the $193,000,000 in unfunded capital projects.

»   I want to know what the environmental remediation costs to the City would be in 2045 when the current lease with Ralmax expires after the lands had been used for shipbuilding for some 150 years.

»   I want to assess whether the staff time and resources that the City, as landlord, puts into the lands at Harbour Road are worth the benefits of retaining a long-term lease.

»   I want citizens to have a say and give input before I decide anything. Please email me at lisa@lisahelpsvictoria.ca with your thoughts.

I’ll be at the event Councillors Gudgeon and Isitt are hosting on Wednesday May 9 from 7-9pm at the Fairfield Community Centre. And I’ll come with an open mind, keeping in mind the complexities of the issue and wanting to consider the best possible way to use the City’s assets to create the greatest, long-term public good.