Last week the new Wharton Street development agreement was finalized.
This agreement involved the sale of municipal land, across the street from our community cenotaph, at the very core of our community.
The question the taxpayer should be asking is: Did we get a fair price for the land that we sold?
Determining a fair price for this particular piece of property was not easy. Standard procedure included an appraisal.
Usually an appraisal includes a price comparison with other similarly zoned and located properties.
This was an impossible task.
Rarely are lands sold at the very centre of a community.
Virtually never do municipalities sell their land at the heart of their community.
The appraisal was completed on April 2. There was a comparison of the land costs of seven commercial properties.
None of the compared properties were zoned to permit five storey buildings.
None would even remotely be considered central downtown lands.
The closest property to a downtown core was on Pandosy Avenue, on the opposite side of Highway 97, far from Kelowna’s city core.
Because of these facts, the so called “appraised price” must be viewed as a complete guesstimate.
Was it a fair price? Hmm. Was a second appraisal indicated? Absolutely.
It is quite remarkable that municipal council and staff were able to project into the future and determined that these core lands were surplus and these lands will not be needed for future community use.
David E. Gregory