Council rushing through sale

Sale of eight city-owned lots being fast-tracked by Penticton council

When I read the Oct. 28 City Page in the Penticton Western News, the public notice indicates the city is selling eight lots (not nine lots) and the fact that the city is rezoning nine lots causes me reason for concern. If council does not even know what they are selling, does that not ring a few bells in someone’s head that we need to slow down and allow the proposed sale and rezoning to take place at a reasonable pace. What the hell is the reason for the great rush? When I see a transaction that is being fast tracked, bells start going off in my head as to the reason for the fast tracking.

How many Penticton taxpayers actually understand the Economic Investment Bylaw Zone? Because the city owns this property, this would be an excellent property to educate the taxpayers on exactly what the EIBZ actually means. When the city is making amendments to the EIBZ at the same time as the proposed sale, this indicates that the transaction has been in the works for some time and the taxpayers have been kept in the dark.

Due to the fact that the city (taxpayers) actually own the property being sold, should incentives being offered by the city to the purchaser of the land be deducted from the selling price of the property? Over the five years of possible subsidies to the land purchaser for fees, development charges and property taxes, should taxpayers not be made aware of the total subsidy to be absorbed by taxpayers and paid for by taxpayers in the form of future property taxes? Council should be giving the taxpayers the estimated value of the incentives being offered to the developer. Council, what is the value of the subsidies being offered?

Do the words honesty, transparency and disclosure mean anything to the members of council?

Did council request proposals from other developers and societies as to other uses for the land (a low-cost housing development)? Was the appraisal of the property based on the current zoning of “small lot residential” or the proposed rezoning to “mixed use commercial” (seven storeys)? Has council listed the property for sale to be sure that we are receiving top value from the sale of our assets?  These are areas that council must become transparent and accountable to Penticton taxpayers.

Is one parking stall for eight beds really reasonable? Will the developer be allowed to use the SOEC parking lot for parking overflow due to screwed up zoning policies? Will the developer be charged for any parking stalls used at the SOEC? Is it in the best interest of the taxpayers to allow this zoning amendment?

Does the developer have the members of council bent over a rail and council is afraid to say no. Who is the member of council that is spearheading this transaction, do I need to ask?

Penticton taxpayers should email your concerns to the mayor@penticton.ca. Your comments will be automatically forwarded to all members of council. I would like to see Penticton taxpayers and residents email, fax or write a memo to council and request that this transaction be postponed until after the election so that taxpayers can be educated on all aspects of the proposed sale.

Ted Wiltse

 

Penticton