Tuesday, November 19, 2013

With the end of the Provincial Capital Commission, what should happen to the lands?

The PCC is a quango that is a bit more than 50 years old and really serves no useful purpose.  Today the provincial government announced that as part of the core services review the PPC would be dissolved, I am happy about this.  One question that needs to be answered now is what should happen to the lands the PPC owns?

I would generally transfer the land to local governments.   I would trust Saanich and Victoria to do as good or better a job as the PCC has done with the properties.

In Saanich the PCC owns Cuthbert Holmes Park, Glencoe Cove park, lands around Rogers Elementary and part of Portage Inlet.   I would transfer all of these to the municipality of Saanich.

PCC owned parking lot in Victoria
In Victoria the PCC owns significant lands around the Inner Harbour including the Coho Docks, the CPR Terminal, the building at Wharf and Government, and the parking lots below Wharf Street north of the floatplane terminal.   I think it would make the most sense transferring all of these lands to the City of Victoria to allow for better management of the inner harbour.   Before you say the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority would be a better fit, I disagree because the GVHA is also an unaccountable quango and is not set to be an effective or productive manager of lands.  I could live with the GVHA is the members of the board were elected by the public.

The parking lots off of Wharf Street have been a cash cow for the PCC.  They have also seemed to have the intent to develop this land at some point.  I suspect that this land will be sold for development by the province at some point

The PCC owns the building at 613 Pandora Street, Crystal Garden and St Ann's Academy.   All three make more sense being owned by the City of Victoria.  613 Pandora is right by City Hall and ownership of it would allow the City more office space.   The City also runs the convention centre, which the Crystal Garden is part of it, it only makes sense for the City to own the building.  The PCC has collected around $700,000 a year from the Crystal Garden.  Finally St Ann's Academy is currently used as provincial government offices but the grounds are a defacto extension of Beacon Hill Park.

These transfers would reduce the costs of the City of Victoria which is a good thing for the capital.

PCC owned lands in Langford
The remaining properties are all along Highway #1 coming into town.   I think these properties make sense being attached to Goldstream Provincial Park, Thetis Lake Park or the Galloping Goose.

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