Friday, March 31, 2023

Budget Request for Land Purchases, should come with disclosure of current land holdings

One of a number of property lots that the City o Prince Rupert
owned and put up for sale last year

(From City of PR notice)

With a large volume of Budget Requests to work our way through from the extensive documentation offered up on Budget release night last week, residents who have an interest in how the City is crafting it's 2023 Budget may have missed an item of some interest.  

That of the City looking to dedicate some of the budget ahead towards land purchases for future use.

The item of Capital Spending isn't particularly high, with a request to use just 50,000 dollars from Reserve/Surplus towards the City's strategic purchases.

While the City seemingly makes investments year to year, residents rarely hear of how much land the city has amassed, where it is located, or if it generates much in the way of revenues for it.

Something that residents facing a double digit property tax increase may want to hear more about.

We only hear word of some of these pockets of land when they announce that some have been put up for disposition as they did recently related to the Digby Tower location, or as was the case with a large listing of residential lots of last year to try to spur on housing development.

Whether they had any success towards that goal of creating more housing isn't known, as the City hasn't  provided for an update since; though there does not appear to be any kind of housing boom underway to testify in the affirmative.

Providing a list of where the City owns it's land would also give residents a better understanding when it comes to the Strategic Planning that the city has been  putting forward towards commercial, industrial and residential development.

The City has used some of its land in the past, a stretch of Park Avenue offered up for some much needed Supportive housing that went up as part of the Crow's Nest Lodge initiative.

As well, a good case could be made that with the City facing some challenges in their budgeting this year, that selling some additional lots of land may help make for a bridge towards when other initiatives begin to provide more reliable returns.

With a pair of Community engagement sessions ahead (April 11 and 24 Council meetings)  towards Budget preparation, there are a number or areas where Council should be providing more information about and consider whether the current path of investment can continue as it has in the past,  considering the larger issues facing the municipality.

Areas of interest that could make for a conversation starter at those Budget sessions could include such civic assets as CityWest, Watson Island and how the city uses its financial instrument of Legacy Inc.

How much land that they are accumulating and what they are doing with, it is one area where information may help the public better understand the ever evolving tax call ahead.

More notes on the Budget Process ahead can be reviewed here.


  1. It was a shock to find out the city bought the old CN Station building. It was even a bigger shock to see the plan for it!
    How many more surprises does the city have?

    1. I too was so pleasantly surprised when I heard the plans that we are finally going to see that heritage site open to the public! The more waterfront amenities in this town, the better!