To sell or not to sell Sechelt’s Lot L

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Christine Wood / Staff Writer
August 21, 2014 08:31 AM

 

To sell or not to sell a portion of Lot L — that is the question.

Sechelt council is looking at rezoning, subdividing and selling a portion of Lot L, a 3.5 hectare property off Dusty Road that was acquired by the District in 2008 for a biosolids handling facility.

It’s currently zoned RR-2 and designated in the official community plan (OCP) to be used for civic, institutional or utility purposes, which would have fit nicely with its original intended use.

With the current council’s more grandiose plans for a state of the art, first of its kind sewage treatment plant on Ebbtide Street, the biosolids handling facility idea was flushed and the Lot L property became surplus. Now the District is weighing its options.

Sechelt plans to move their parks and public works department to a new facility yet to be built on Lot L, but that facility will only take up the easterly 1.9 hectares, according to planning reports.

That leaves 1.6 hectares “as surplus property” that can be “disposed” of according to a report from the director of development services.

What Sechelt is lacking, according to development planner Angela Letman, is industrially zoned property. That’s why, she says, the District wants to subdivide and rezone the remaining 1.6 hectares of Lot L to industrial (I-7) and change the OCP designation to business/industry.

An I-7 zone would allow things like light industry, machine shops, warehouses, restaurants and medicinal marijuana grow ops.

If able to subdivide and rezone, the District has already had interest from one medicinal marijuana producer to set up shop at the property. That company would likely buy the land, but I suppose they could also lease it from the District. Either way Sechelt makes money, especially since the new I-7 zoning will fetch a higher price than the original RR-2 designation. Seems like a good deal for Sechelt, but I’d like to see the benefits go further, to the people who live here.

After all, wasn’t it public money that bought Lot L in the first place? And shouldn’t the public benefit some from this property that should, according to the OCP,  have a civic, institutional or utility use?

I know our municipal hall needs a new place to move to in the future with the proposed expansion of the library. Perhaps this lot could work.

Or better yet, I’ve heard people mention the need for a playing field in East Porpoise Bay, which currently has an abundance of walking trails, but not one playing field for residents. Seems like a good fit.

If we’re not going to use this property for its intended purpose or fulfill the obligations of the OCP, perhaps we should consider selling it back to Mike Anderchek, owner of Deluxe Landscaping, who said he reluctantly sold Lot L to the District in 2008.

When the biosolids plan was scrapped, Anderchek expressed interest in getting the property back and he’s asked for “an option to purchase every year” since, to no avail.

At a public hearing on the future of Lot L at the end of July, not one person spoke in favour of the District’s plan to subdivide, rezone and dispose of a portion of Lot L. I missed that meeting because I was on holidays, but I’m looking forward to reading the staff report when it comes forward and hearing the discussion at council table.

In light of the concerns, I’ll be interested to see what Sechelt decides to do with this “surplus” property in the coming weeks.


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