‘Backroom Deals For Public Lands’

Up until now, the court-ordered expansion of Race Based Law has been most damaging in remote areas of Canada and for most Canadians, it’s been ‘Out of sight, out of mind’. However, urban Canadians are now starting to have to deal with the ugly reality.  

Public lands in Vancouver have been put up for sale by the massively-indebted federal and B.C. governments — lands that could be worth as much as $3 billion — but instead of maximizing the profit for the public good by putting the lands up for bid, the governments have been in secret meetings with three aboriginal Bands for the turnover of the prime real estate. 

Suspicions have been heightened by the total secrecy imposed by both levels of government, and their complete lack of interest in public participation. The previous federal Conservative government already negotiated the sale of the federal lands that was announced last October, giving 3 aboriginal Bands 50% ownership — only 22% of which they have to pay for.

There is a danger of the land being classified as off-reserve reserve land. In that case, the lands would no longer be subject to city by-laws, zoning regulations, etc., and no taxes would be paid for the lands. Yet another negative consequence of Race Based Law…
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‘First Nations’ planning on ‘purchasing’ remainder of Jericho lands from province’

“Three ‘First Nations’ have shown interest in ‘buying’ a portion of Vancouver’s ‘Jericho lands’.

“The provincial government has accepted a letter of intent from the Musqueam, the Squamish, and the Tsleil-Waututh to buy 39 acres in the Point Grey area.

“The same three groups have a share on the 52 acres adjacent, under control of a federal Crown corporation.

“NDP MLA David Eby says the transaction has many in the area concerned.

“The community’s concerns remain the same — that the community is consulted about the future of the lands and the type of development that goes there. The idea that the land might be sold to a luxury condo developer, where a bunch of international investors will hold vacant condos and drive the affordability crisis into even higher and more astronomical levels, is really disconcerting.”

“But Liberal Cabinet Minister Andrew Wilkinson says any development will need the city’s approval.

“They’ll be required to go through the mandate of the ‘City of Vancouver’ process for rezoning and any different use of the land.”

“He says the community will be consulted.”

–‘First Nations’ planning on purchasing remainder of Jericho lands from province’,
Estefania Duran, CKNW, February 12, 2016

http://www.cknw.com/2016/02/12/149608/

COMMENT: “I hope that this process is properly handled by all involved. Unfortunately, the past has shown that the ‘First Nations’ and the gov’t of the day, whoever it might be, have come to agreements that benefit the ‘First Nations’ at the expense of all others.”
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“One thing that “international investors” from any country have in common is that they buy only “real” assets, not leaseholds (depreciating assets) “sold” by people more sacred than themselves, who dance to a different beat and laugh at the laws the rest of the country is beholden to.

“Particularly after that stunt just this week in Yale (which CKNW won’t cover), there is very little worry of an “international investor” trusting one of these potential vendors named in the LOI.”
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“’First nations’ are either part of Canada or they are not; at this rate, three-quarters of BC will be lost to indians when they finally split from the rest of us. I say pay them all a huge sum, give them all a parcel of land and hereafter they can live under the same laws as the rest of us. DO IT NOW, before it’s too late. BTW, I don’t hate ‘first nations’, It’s just that canada will be lost if this continues.”
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“We have paid them many times over for any imagined claims they think they might have . . . time to set the captives FREE!”
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“For fifteen thousand years, there was a series of invasions of North America over the Bering land bridge by groups of people. Unless these Indians can genetically prove that they were “the first”, they are immigrants like all the rest of us. The misnomer “first nations” was coined by Mercredi, I believe in the 80′s or 90′s, and the left wing liberal media and gullible Canadians bought it.”
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“I wonder if the interest to purchase the land is so they can hold the rest of us hostage when the new skytrain line to UBC will be built. I can see it now… Roadblocks preventing the construction unless additional payoffs are made. I think it is referred to as nationally sanctioned extortion. LOL. This will be interesting indeed to watch as it all unfolds.” land-deal-worth-307m-includes-jericho-garrison“In a deal valued at just over $307 million, three parcels of land—in Point Grey, Cambie and West Vancouver—are now held in joint ownership by a coalition of B.C. ‘First Nations’ and the ‘Canada Lands Agency’ {a federal agency for managing and disposing of federal lands}.

“The approximately 32 hectares of land were previously owned by the federal government and include {part of} the Jericho Lands (21 hectares), where a Canadian Forces garrison is currently sited, an area west of Heather Street between West 33rd and West 37th Avenues (nine hectares) that was formerly an RCMP headquarters, and a small parcel of land (two hectares) on Marine Drive at Burkehill Road in West Vancouver that was formerly owned by ‘Fisheries and Oceans Canada’.

“The deal, announced Wednesday, makes the ‘First Nations’ — the Musqueam {a ‘nation’ of 1,315 people}, Squamish {a ‘nation’ of 3,893 people} and Tsleil-Waututh {a ‘nation’ of 550 people} — 50% owners of the land, with the ‘nations’ GIVEN 28% of the value as beneficial interest, and purchasing another 22% for $68 million.

“There are no plans in place for the land, WHICH IN DEVELOPED FORM COULD BE WORTH BILLIONS. A lengthy period of consultation and engagement is expected before any work begins.

“Chief Wayne Sparrow told ‘CBC News’ the Musqueam do not view the land as reserve property.

“It’s a business transaction that we are doing and we are using it as an economic opportunity for our communities”, he said. “No scare tactics about casinos or doing stuff on our own without the input of the municipalities and the governments.” {Time will tell…}

“Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said he was happy with the deal and was looking forward to hearing community feedback about its future use.”

–‘First Nations’ join Vancouver land deal valued at $307M’,
CBC News, Oct. 01, 2014 {CAPS added}

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/first-nations-join-vancouver-land-deal-valued-at-307m-1.2784366

COMMENT: “…It’s a preferential deal with a discount based on race.”
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“I am quite pleased, payback time.”
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“Please stop giving preferential treatment to one race over another. That IS racism by definition.”
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“Race based laws are the very definition of racism. Anyone who supports that is racist.”
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“They are not paying $68 million, taxpayers are. Who are we kidding?”
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“Land grabs are what history is all about, and I am having difficulties understanding why the land that the ‘first nations’ lost is special…”
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“ “…with the ‘nations’ given 28% of the value as beneficial interest”

“Can anyone get in on this action?”
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“Nope, its race based.” 

Jericho Lands -- Van City Buzz
Jericho Lands — Van City Buzz

From Feb., 2014:
“Vancouver Councillor Andrea Reimer, chair of city council’s planning, transportation and environment committee…said the ‘Jericho Lands’ are zoned for single-family homes and public institutions like schools.

“Her only caveat was if a ‘First Nation’ ended up exclusively owning land — as opposed to having an equity stake with a private developer — that was designated by Ottawa as an “addition to reserve” property.

“The city would have no authority then, she said, though she added the three ‘First Nations’ have “excellent” relations with the city and would be ‘likely to cooperate’ {if paid off, of course} on issues of development, zoning and public consultation.
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‘The $3-billion debate over Vancouver’s Jericho Lands’

“The federal government is edging closer to a potential windfall disposal of one of Canada’s most valuable plots of oceanview real estate.

“And while the B.C. government says it is “not considering or planning” the sale of its portion of the Jericho Lands, a heavily-censored report obtained by the NDP indicates that Victoria did recently consider a potential sale.

“Each government owns part of the 36-hectare area overlooking Jericho Beach Park, in Vancouver’s posh West Point Grey neighbourhood.

“It’s a dream location where residents, including many fearing a pending major development in their neighbourhood, enjoy stunning views of English Bay, the downtown Vancouver skyline, and the North Shore mountains. 

“The ‘University of B.C.’ is down the road, and high-end shops and restaurants are a short walk away.

“While taxpayer-funded studies of the area’s potential value are being kept private, it’s no secret the value is staggering. Jason Upton, president of ‘Aedis Appraisals Ltd.’, grew up in the neighbourhood. He predicts the land owned by both governments could be worth more than $2 billion if the City of Vancouver allowed both single-family housing and low- to mid-rise apartment buildings.

“Realtor Spice Lucks, who said she’s been eyeing the Jericho Lands’ potential “for the better part of my life,” said the value could approach $3 billion…

“SECRECY SURROUNDS THE FEDERAL TALKS WITH THE THREE ‘First Nations’ THAT CLAIM TITLE TO THE AREA — the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh.

“None of the three ‘First Nations’ responded to interview requests. But a document obtained last year by the ‘B.C. Federation of Labour’ made it clear Ottawa is inching closer to a deal.

“We are working toward a business agreement between Canada and ‘First Nations’ aimed at unlocking the value of these properties for the economic benefit of all parties”, the undated federal email stated…

“B.C. government spokesman Jason Macnaughton said Victoria “is not considering or planning the sale” of its Jericho property. A heavily-redacted 2012 provincial study, obtained by the B.C. NDP, indicates that Victoria has at least explored the idea of following Ottawa’s lead. The appraisal, done by ‘Coriolis Consulting Corp.’, is titled: “Evaluation of the Development Potential of the Provincial Jericho Lands.”

“The consultant’s conclusions were whited out under provisions of B.C.’s {ironically-named} ‘Freedom of Information Act’ that allows government censors to exclude information “harmful” to “the financial or economic interests of a public body”.

“Macnaughton said the study was part of a “prudent” due diligence process and had been done three times previously, dating back to the 1990s.

“Andrew Wilkinson, B.C.’s minister for ‘Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services’, was asked by the NDP in July if the province planned to sell the land.

“The province has not entered into any formal talks with ‘First Nations’, the city of Vancouver or other stakeholders regarding the provincially-owned lands at Jericho”, Wilkinson said. “I think it’s probably stating the obvious that we will observe with detailed interest what happens with the federal lands and whether there’s a disposition there.”

“He said the extent of the province’s discussion with the Musqueam ‘First Nation’ has amounted to “incidental remarks.” Jericho Lands Protest Poster“Critics say a lack of information about both governments’ plans fosters tension for many who live around the two parcels of land — the province’s 15.5 hectares, sloping down from West Eighth Avenue to West Fourth Avenue; and the 21 hectares owned by the Department of National Defence, immediately to the east.

“There’s so much anxiety”,

said the area’s MLA, David Eby, who maintains that the government’s commissioning of a secret report indicates it is looking at a sale to help balance the provincial budget.

“The rookie MLA (he defeated Premier Christy Clark in the Vancouver-Point Grey riding in the May election) said a prominent professional who approached him at a public meeting last year, and vowed to lie in front of a bulldozer to stop unwanted development.

“It blew my mind when he said that”, Eby said, as he contemplated a potential radical protest involving some of B.C.’s wealthiest residents. “You’re talking about some of the real power brokers in this city. It’s true the community doesn’t have a veto, but, that said, these people are very passionate about this issue. Any developer — and certainly the provincial government — should take notice that there will be significant resistance to a development process that goes ahead without consultation.”

“Liberal MP Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra) is also hearing from concerned constituents and is also frustrated by her mostly fruitless efforts to find out what’s happening.

“It’s like pinning jelly to the wall.”

“While some residents say the outcome could be positive if some of the profits are invested in parks and playgrounds, the lack of public information has led to some fearful speculation.

“The worst-case scenario (being discussed among neighbours) is highrises and no public spaces”, said Christine Nelson, president of the ‘West Point Grey Community Association’.

“The federal land, home of the ‘Jericho Beach Garrison’, is occupied by a number of Department of National Defence units and organizations, including ‘39 Canadian Brigade Group’ headquarters, the ‘12 Field Ambulance’, the ‘Canadian Forces Housing Agency’ and the ‘B.C. Mainland Military Family Resource Centre’.  jericho_garrison_sign{French)“There are about 100 military personnel and their families living in relatively low-cost defence department rental housing. They must find their own housing starting in 2017.

“The 39 Canadian Brigade Group headquarters is to move from Jericho to the ‘Seaforth Highlanders Armoury’ on Burrard Street at First Avenue, which is getting a $40.5-million refit.

“The main tenants of the provincial land are the ‘West Point Grey Academy’, the exclusive private school where Liberal leader Justin Trudeau once briefly worked as a teacher, and a daycare and recreation centre owned by the ‘City of Vancouver Parks Department’.

“Leases for these properties expire in 2020. There are other recreational properties on the province’s land, including a soccer field and tennis courts.

“Other than those public institutions and facilities, the land is largely unoccupied, making it stand out in an otherwise well-populated neighbourhood…

“Tidy rows of aging, single-family military homes occupy the southeast quadrant, on roads with names that evoke memories of some of the Second World War’s greatest battles — Antwerp Lane, Salerno Street and Normandy Drive… 

Military housing, Jericho lands. Photo -- Glenn Baglo - Vancouver Sun
Military housing, Jericho lands. Photo — Glenn Baglo – Vancouver Sun

“Though residents living near these properties express angst, government officials have assured the public they will be consulted when the ‘Canada Lands Company’, the federal corporation that handles sales of federal assets, takes control of the land.

“As a part of the redevelopment process, it (the CLC) would hold public consultation sessions”, then-defence minister Peter MacKay stated said last year.

“CLC spokeswoman Manon Lapensee said the corporation is subject to the municipal planning process and, if it acquires Jericho, its plan will be submitted to the city “well before” the property is put on the market…

“Wilkinson, the B.C. minister, provided a similar assurance in his exchange with Eby in the legislature in July, when asked if the province would launch a public discussion if it decided to follow Ottawa’s lead.

“I expect there will be (full) consultation if there is any progress on any plan to do anything differently, other than the status quo, with the Jericho Lands.”

“Vancouver Councillor Andrea Reimer, chair of city council’s planning, transportation and environment committee, also expects consultation.

“On a balance of probabilities, there will absolutely be a consultation process, whether it’s because of historical precedent or legal requirement, because we can legally regulate a private developer”, she told ‘The Vancouver Sun’.

“She said the ‘Jericho Lands’ are zoned for single-family homes and public institutions like schools.

“Her only caveat was if a ‘First Nation’ ended up exclusively owning land — as opposed to having an equity stake with a private developer — that was designated by Ottawa as an “addition to reserve” property.

“The city would have no authority then, she said, though she added the three ‘First Nations’ have “excellent” relations with the city and would be likely to cooperate on issues of development, zoning and public consultation.

“While officials struggle with the complexity of the expected land disposal, local residents are coming to terms with the potential end to the status quo.

“Talk of this potential development dates back a half-century, to the 1960’s.

“In the late 1980’s, then-mayor Gordon Campbell spoke optimistically about a major development project — though he assured the public the matter wouldn’t be settled overnight.

“The Jericho Lands will happen in the next 10 years. It’s a 1990’s project“, an over-confident Campbell predicted.

1920 photo of Curtiss HS-2L flying boat, Jericho Beach Air Station. Photo - Chris Weicht
1920 photo of Curtiss HS-2L flying boat, Jericho Beach Air Station. Photo – Chris Weicht

‘Jericho Lands: a history’

1859: The Royal Navy and Royal Engineers conduct reconnaissance of English Bay and Burrard Inlet, identifying the Jericho Beach area as a future military reserve.

1919: A year after the First World War ends, the Dominion Air Board selects Jericho Beach as the site for a West Coast “flying boat” air station. During the 1920s, Jericho had the distinction of being the first Canadian seaplane base to include a “division of homing pigeons.”

1942: A year after Japan stuns the world by attacking the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941, Ottawa expands the base onto a golf course in order to set up the Pacific command headquarters for the army, navy and air force.

1968-72: The federal government transfers 12 waterfront hectares north of Fourth Avenue to the city to be made into Jericho Beach Park. “Flying boat” hangars along the waterfront are demolished.

1995: Federal budget declares remaining Jericho lands surplus to government needs.

1996: Jericho Beach Detachment closes, though a portion of the property continues as the Jericho Beach Garrison, home of the 39 Canadian Brigade Group headquarters.

2013: Federal government, in public statements and in internal documents, indicates it is in discussion with local ‘First Nations’, who claim the land, and will dispose of the property as early as 2014.
(Sources: Department of National Defence; Province of B.C.; Canadian Military History blog)

–’The $3-billion debate over Vancouver’s Jericho Lands’,
Peter O’Neil and Matthew Robinson, Vancouver Sun, February 1, 2014 {CAPS added}
poneil@postmedia.com   Follow me: @POneilInOttawa
mattrobinson@vancouversun.com   Follow me: @mt_robinson

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/billion+debate+over+Vancouver+Jericho+Lands/9456829/story.html

http://davidebymla.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2014/07/14-04-22-Jericho-reference-document.pdf

COMMENT: “The Feds, the three ‘First Nations’, and the a City have long decided what to do with the land. Any form of public consultation is just a formality. Thanks to our moron Mayor Robertson, Vancouver will become a concrete jungle, a classless one, for the sake of accommodating increased population… They’re already rezoning SW Marine Drive, Arbutus, and Kerrisdale. Soon, they’ll rezone Shaughnessy and Point Grey, despite protests from existing residents who are in the highest tax bracket. Twenty years later, Vancouver will lose it’s charm and become another Detroit. Yuck!” 

RCAF Air Station, Jericho Beach, circa 1937. Image - Vancouver Archives
RCAF Air Station, Jericho Beach, circa 1937. Image – Vancouver Archives

“David Eby, who is the MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, says he received a letter on Monday that shows the province is in {secret} talks with ‘First Nations’ groups to sell the land and and won’t consult with the public until that process winds up.

“We intend to allows those discussions to conclude prior to taking any further actions with regards to the future of the lands”, said the letter, signed by Amrik Virk, the minister responsible for the land sale.

“Eby said the letter was frustrating because there are so many possibilities for the land and public consultations are an ideal way to brainstorm about them.

“They would consider disposing of the land to ‘First Nations’ before talking to the community, and they don’t see a provincial obligation to consult with the community before selling, which is incredibly frustrating for us.”

“The letter says that THE PROVINCE WILL CONSULT EVENTUALLY, BUT ONLY AFTER THE LAND IS SOLD AND DEVELOPMENT IS PROPOSED.

“The federal-owned adjacent property on Jericho Lands was managed by the Department of National Defence (DND) for decades, but was sold to the Canada Lands Company for “strategic disposal”…”

http://www.kitsilano.ca/2014/10/06/vancouvers-jericho-lands-finally-sold-in-a-package-deal-for-307-million/

–‘Jericho Lands sale prompts calls for more public consultation’,
CBC News, July 28, 2015 {CAPS added}
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/jericho-lands-sale-prompts-calls-for-more-public-consultation-1.3171616

https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/jericho-lands-sale-imminent-town-hall-videos/

http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=764cf9659d918243dfbb39269&id=db40d71274 
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