Rushed Burke Mountain land deal cost taxpayers $43M, NDP claims

The NDP says documents from an independent appraiser shows the B.C. government sold land on Coquitlam's Burke Mountain for $43 million less than it was worth.

NDP says government rushed through sale of prime real estate to pad its budget numbers

The NDP claims the provincial government lost taxpayers money rushing the sale of 14 parcels of land on Burke Mountain, prior to the end of the 2013 fiscal year, but the government says it got the deal it wanted. (ekistics.com)

The NDP says documents from an independent appraiser shows the B.C. government sold 14 publicly owned parcels of land on Coquitlam's Burke Mountain for $43 million less than they were worth.

It says the land, once seen as prime real estate, was sold within weeks prior to the end of the 2013 fiscal year, despite advice to keep it on the market for months.

In documents obtained by the party under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, the NDP says Equity Valuation and Consulting advised government the land was worth $128 million if exposed to the market for six to nine months.

But just weeks later, NDP MLA Mike Farnworth says government began accepting offers and sold all 14 parcels to one buyer for $85 million.

"The appraiser told the government to wait nine months and get a good price," said Farnworth. "But the Liberals threw the report to the wind and rushed to sell the land at a massive loss to the taxpayer, just so they could pad their budget numbers."

Land buyer is donor to B.C. Liberals, says NDP

Farnworth says the purchaser of all 14 land parcels is Hassan Khosrowshabi of Wesbild Holdings, whose companies, Farnworth says, have donated close to $1 million to the B.C. Liberal Party since 2000.

However, the minister responsible Amrik Virk maintains Colliers International, who was in charge of the sale, negotiated the best price possible for taxpayers.

"When marketed by an internationally reputable firm, this is the best value that the market would bear for all 14 parcels combined," he said.

Virk says there is no reason to believe government would have been able to negotiate a better price if they'd kept the properties longer.

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