A purchase-price factor

The following post was sent to the Richmond Review exactly the way it appears below. However, it somehow got published online with a different beginning: “At Monday’s council meeting,” instead of “At a Richmond council meeting on December 8, 2008.” That makes a huge difference to the meaning. That has now been fixed online and partially remedied in a printed newspaper.

At a Richmond council meeting on December 8, 2008, Coun. Greg Halsey-Brandt said a Richmond offer to buy the Garden City lands should be based on the value of the Walmart property across Alderbridge Road. Coun. Evelina Halsey-Brandt, his wife, was quick to agree.

The assessed value of the property was under $100,000 an acre. But the couple had, in effect, said it was worth $3 million an acre.

Musqueam Indian Band leaders and their lawyer were a few feet away, along with Canada Lands Company people. After the public bargaining on their behalf, they surrounded a beaming Greg Halsey-Brandt like a conquering hero.

No doubt the couple was looking out for the Musqueam. However, lawyer Keith Clark, hired to advise council at the Garden City lands public hearing of March 11, 2008, had been clear: “Base your decision on what is best for the people of Richmond.”

Council still managed to buy the Garden City lands for $59.17 million, which is roughly $433,000 an acre. However, I see much of that amount as a gift, largely from Greg and Evelina Halsey-Brandt at the expense of the Community Legacy and Land Replacement Reserve.

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