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Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil
06-10-2013, 01:20 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-11-2013, 06:41 PM by Skook.)
#1
Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil
This post is my swan song on Sechelt developments. I shown you recent development projects in town and the difficulties they currently face, and now I am taking you back a bit further in time to when it was really rocking and rolling on the coast.

The years 2003 to 2007 were the Sunshine Coast’s real estate version of the 'Yukon Gold Rush' reaching its zenith in 2005. Developers, developer-wannabes and snake-oil salesmen whether local, from the lower mainland and Alberta or from god-knows-where arrived, scoured the coast from Gibsons to Earls Cove buying up every substantial piece of privately owned land, or pushed their nutty ideas. Planning and development staff in Gibsons, Sechelt and the regional government (SCRD) offices earned every penny of their salaries during those wild and woolly years.

The SCRD released its 2004 Annual Report in the spring of 2005 and in it made a bold prediction - that the population of the Sunshine Coast would reach 40,000 by 2012 and 50,000 by 2026. A friend of mine would call that 2012 figure a ‘Russian’ number since it proved to be “a little off” (In the 2011 Census, the SC population reaches 28,619), but it would have been close to the mark had all the developments on the table at the time with their multitude of phases come to fruition. This post will take a brief look at a few of those projects - a couple went into foreclosure, one faded away, one was just silly, and a couple are dormant. I will end with a recent proposal that still waits to unfold.

Grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable - here we go…
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Except for the one silly idea which remained just that, some of these early projects actually broke ground and even completed Phase 1. They failed because they were victims of events beyond their control - the US housing crash and the subsequent Stock market meltdown which saw credit dry up, and potential buyers disappear. Their only fault appeared to be timing.

Silverback on Porpoise Bay (image below):

A gorilla of a development if there ever was one on the SC which was definitely a view held by the residents of East Porpoise Bay who didn’t take long to set up a protest webpage when a new re-zoning application was submitted. First proposed as a much smaller residential/golf course development named ‘The Terraces at Angus Creek’ back in 1995 by owner and Gibsons resident, John Kavanaugh, the project grew to immense proportions when sold to Calgarian, Gabriel Khoury, in that crazy year of 2005. Mr. Khoury’s privately held company, Porpoise Bay Developments Ltd, appeared to have lost the battle when its rezoning application was rejected on the 3rd and final reading by Sechelt Council in early April, 2008.

However, a few weeks later using the province’s Community Charter legislation, then mayor, Cam Reid, exercised his authority calling for a second final vote and on May 8, 2008 the application passed. According to Mr. Khoury, “Sechelt’s building community was a catalyst in bringing the project back for a second final vote [saying] “We met directly with the builder’s association two weeks ago - they’re supporting us because we’re supporting them”” (Coast Reporter). It also helped that Mr. Khoury upped his contribution to the sewer facilities from $8 million to $11.2 million.

Well, all was for naught. In 2010, Silverback and Mr. Khoury’s Calgary condo/townhouse ‘Lumiere’ project were in foreclosure and both were snapped up by Calgary based, Stoneset Equity Development Corp, a real estate investment company specializing in buying foreclosed projects with zoning and development plans in place. Stoneset has sold the Lumiere project to Vancouver developer, Bucci Developments Ltd, who renamed it ‘Tribeca’ and brought it back to life in February, 2012 completely selling out its 82 units in ten months; construction is to be completed this December.

Stoneset, too, has had its own share of problems as outlined in this November, 2011, Montreal Gazette news story which is worth quoting in full:

Quote:“A troubled Calgary property development firm that received some of the missing $65 million invested by Canadians in a suspected Ponzi scheme was delisted from the Canadian National Stock exchange on Tuesday.

In July, Stoneset Equity Development Corp. was suspended from trading for failing to disclose required information including financial statements and a certification of interim filings for the reporting period ended March 31, 2011. A spokesperson for the CNSX said the company was delisted this week because it has still not disclosed the obligatory information.

In June, the Gazette reported that the president of Stoneset is Peter Jarman, the son of the founder of the Voyageur Foundation, a Costa Rica-based “investment club” being investigated by the RCMP and securities regulators in the U.S. and Canada for running a suspected Ponzi scheme. About 1,000 investors, mostly from Quebec and Alberta, are unable to recover an estimated $65 million in funds they invested with the foundation.

In a June interview, Stoneset chief executive Tony Argento admitted that his firm received a $700,000 loan from Voyageur’s Trimax debenture fund — an entity controlled by Peter Jarman and his wife — and that Stoneset might be forced to sell one of its buildings to obtain enough funds to pay back the money. Stoneset subsequently issued a Canada-wide press release refuting information published in the article and denying its link to Voyageur. A Stoneset lawyer also contacted the reporter in question.

The delisting is the latest in a long list of legal and financial woes to hit Stoneset this year. In June, the company grappled with the resignation of its chief financial officer, a creditor’s threat to foreclose on the Symons Valley Ranch property Stoneset purchased last August for $11 million, it’s own threat of a lawsuit against several associated firms, and a $25-million lawsuit related to Stoneset’s purchase of a waterfront property in Invermere, B.C. that is slated for a $200-million development project.

As for Stoneset, it is not clear how a firm that can’t make mortgage payments on Calgary’s Symons Valley Ranch will be able to fund its planned $200-million Invermere lakefront project, which consists of a 144-room hotel and convention centre, 570 condominiums and 45,000 square feet of commercial space. In a July interview with the Columbia Valley Pioneer, Invermere mayor Gerry Taft said Stoneset’s legal and financial troubles meant there was “no future” for the proposed complex.

A letter from the company’s independent auditors dated April 21, 2011 provides scant comfort for shareholders. The document notes that the firm requires substantial funding in 2011 to meet is obligations. Moreover, this necessary funding combined with the firm’s inability to meet certain multi-million dollar mortgage payments indicates the “existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt upon the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

On Wednesday, Stoneset’s website was not functioning. Repeated phone calls from a reporter were not answered and were eventually routed to voice mail.”

The fate of Silverback on Porpoise Bay is unknown. However, in both 2011 and 2012, the development’s DL lots all appeared on Sechelt’s ‘Notice of Tax Sale’ for failure to pay delinquent taxes and interest so it might be safe to assume it is still in Stoneset’s portfolio of properties.

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The Trails (images above):

A rule-of-thumb says that a developer should assume a two-year time span from the time he/she buys the land, prepares the architectural and engineering plans, and get re-zoning approval and if that is the case here then North Vancouver based Western Eagle Development Inc., might have purchased its 185 acres in West Sechelt back in 2004. However, this being the SC, where the process could be speedier the purchase might have occurred in early 2005.

The Trails project made its first public appearance in January, 2006 and according to the Coast Reporter news story 100 local residents showed up bearing a 900-signature petition blasting the fact the main access to the development would be via Norwest Bay Road. However, the public’s concerns did not deter the Council as it passed the third and final reading in mid-February, 2006. It helped that the developers, brothers Mike and Barry Drummond, were prepared to spend $1-million dollars to extend the sewer line and “agreed to improve Norwest Bay Road from Mason Road to Wakefield Road during phase one of the development. These improvements will include having the dip in the road lifted and sidewalks and curbs installed.”

News of the project began to make its way into the press by summer and fall, 2006; first in a Vancouver Province article, “Small town B.C.” running hot, August 20, 2006:

Quote:The whole of the Sunshine Coast is basking in real-estate activity. It's proving to be a huge magnet for retirees and baby boomers from Vancouver as it puts them only two hours away from the city. Western Eagle Development is about to start The Trails, a master-planned community with outstanding views of the ocean just on the outskirts of Sechelt. "This is the first master-planned community on the Sunshine Coast and unlike anything else in the area," declares Nick Askew, president of PaceSetter Marketing.

This was followed by a brief mention in a September 2, Vancouver Sun piece:

Quote:THE TRAILS

Location: Sechelt
Project size: 360 residences, attached and detached
Residence size: Townhouses, from 1,400 sq.ft.; detached, from 1,650 sq.ft.
Prices: Townhouses, from about $350,000; detached, from about $450,000
Presentation centre: 5511 Wharf Road, Sechelt
Hours: Noon - 6 p.m. daily
Telephone: 1/604-740-3992
Web: trailsliving.com
Developer: Western Eagle Development Corp.
Architect: Michael Huggins, Burrowes Huggins Architects
Interior design: Portico Design Group

Then…nothing and to this day the 185 acres remain undeveloped.However, the project website is still active and on the Home page it states:

“Currently the land that comprises The Trails is being rezoned. Please visit us again in the spring of 2009.”

So, if zoning passed in 2006, what gives? Well, Western Eagle nixed their substantial plans and applied for re-zoning for a much less ambitious project in 2008. This, too, was passed as the new zoning appears in a DOS 2011Consolidated Zoning document. So, one can only assume, the Drummond brothers are waiting for more auspicious times…this could take a while.

A very silly development proposal (no images):

In February, 2005, Sunshine Coast developer Doug Spani appeared before the Sechelt’s Planning committee with a ‘tit-for-tat’ proposal. If his zoning application was passed in principal by June, then he would finance the estimated almost $3-million dollar rebuilding of the Rockwood Centre Annex passing it over to the District to operate and maintain. The Rockwood Centre (a heritage home), located on Shorncliffe Ave near the Sechelt’s core is a much cherished building and home to the community’s annual and well-respected Writer’s Festival, but its Annex was mouldy and falling apart.

It just so happened that the Rockwood Centre abutted land owned by Mr. Spani. Now, Spani’s 6 acres were measly compared to the vast Silverback holdings or even to The Trails; but, what the Spani development lacked in land mass, it made up for in height proposing two 12-storey vertical towers in addition to two 4-storey condominium buildings and parking, lots and lots of parking both underground and above ground.

The development’s public information meeting was held in early March, 2005 with about 50 in attendance and generally, appears to have been well received with some even calling the plan “refreshing and unique”; but, it was the Fire Chief who brought these soaring edifices and the plan back down to earth and perhaps his comments might be interpreted to read something like this:

“WTF, are you nuts! Our volunteer fire department can’t even fight a 4-storey fire let alone what you’re proposing. What about the new equipment and training we would need? Are you going to finance that, too, you bonehead!”

Of course, the Fire Chief was far, far more diplomatic and polite than that, but 10-to-1 he was thinking it.

No further word on this development proposal can be found and by 2006, Doug Spani had joined forces with another to undertake the exciting, cutting edge Wilson Creek development project - EcoVillage.

To be continued….


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06-11-2013, 09:14 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-12-2013, 07:11 AM by Skook.)
#2
RE: Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil
Part 2:

EcoVillage Business Park (images below):

This nearly 30 acre site on Field Road in the Wilson Creek area of the District of Sechelt (DOS) was purchased by Vancouver native, Hugh Sutherland (founder of the Mohawk Oil Co. in 1960 and part-time SC resident). He and his son, Rob, formed W. C. Holdings Ltd., to develop the land and at some point Sechelt developer, Doug Spani, joined the company as its third director.

According to its old website, the decision to develop a ‘multi-use village’ based on LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was made and the project was christened ‘eco village’. That old website which went live in 2005 (that pivotal year, again) had pages of text it but almost nil in concrete detail (must have been written by a politician turned website designer).

It was only by visiting the websites of two architectural firms involved in the project both based on the SC and wading through a DOS 2011 Consolidate Zoning document that I found drawings, the site plan, descriptions outlining the project’s aim and vision, and the projected number of onsite buildings.

From Teryl Mullock Architecture Ltd:
Quote:Eco-Village Business Park
Sechelt 2006 - 2008 LEED Project
The master plan includes a mix of industrial, business, commercial and live-work uses in a sustainably designed park setting. The first phase live-work buildings have flexible spaces that can accommodate a variety of functions, and accommodate growth and change within each space. Features include green roof areas, geothermal and passive solar heating. Designed in association with Mobius Architecture.

From Mobius Architecture:
Quote:Field Road Business Park
This LEED certified Business Park is planned for a 20-acre [sic] property located between a creek and a major road network. The buildings are planned to be constructed with pre-cast insulated concrete panels, and flexible floor plan layouts. Extensive green roofs will gather rain water and help temper the temperature within the buildings. A mix of live/work studios and commercial spaces are planned for the site, and the majority of the site planning is centered around pedestrian circulation.

The site has been planned with an on site septic treatment system, and all the storm water will be managed on site. A geothermal communal heating/cooling system is proposed to serve all the building on site. Native landscaping will be used extensively to void any irrigation systems.

From the DOS 2011 Consolidated Zoning document:
Quote:The intent of the CD-22 zone is to provide a mixed use development of 93 residential dwelling units and commercial retail units on…and specifically for:
  1. On LB01 Parkade/Commerical level, a minimum of nine (9) commercial units, a parking garage with 157 vehicle spaces and a loading bay;
  2. On the L01 Residential level, five (5) live/work units, sixteen (16) multiple family apartment dwelling units, a restaurant, condominium amenity space, public and private open space;
  3. On levels LO2, LO3 and LO4, a total of seventy-two (72) multiple family apartment dwelling units.


I walked by this site in the summer of 2006 when it was being cleared and I thought how ironic that a development billing itself as an ‘EcoVillage’ was cutting down every tree on site. However, given its plans for geothermal heating and cooling, storm water collection and on site septic treatment, cutting down and clearing the site was a unavoidable.

I like this development and the concepts behind it. So what happened? First, the 80-year old Hugh Beswetherick Sutherland unexpectedly died on November 14, 2007 and, perhaps, he alone bankrolled the project; and, secondly, the economic events soon to unfold.

What is truly a mystery, though, is how little has been written up about this development. You would think a unique project like this involving a well-known SC developer would have produced lots of ink; however, a search at the Coast Reporter website (coastreporter.net) using every conceivable search term (and doing the same on Google) brings up next to nothing - zoning applications: zilch; public information meetings: zilch; its demise: zilch. You have to wonder why.

EcoVillage appears to have had no beginning, no middle and no end; it was just there and then faded away.

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Seaview Villa Estates (images above):

Back on March 13, 2013, Observer at Vancouver Price Drop included a little green house at 4507 Cedarcrest Ave , North Van, in his list of properties. We learned from comments that it had just sold for $876,100 as a foreclosure. Everyone had a bit of laugh at the pricing and then moved on.

On April 29, 2013, again at Vancouver Price Drop, Observer included at Sunshine Coast property in his list - 5520 McCourt Rd, Sechelt. It just so happened I had been researching the property that very morning for a possible VanPeak forum post and knew it was land earmarked for Phases 2, 3 and 4 of a small development project that was now on the market.

I was interested in this project which I thought attractive and well-planned because its developer was a woman - one of the few in BC. I am not going to go into great detail about the project because anything you could possible want to know and then some is on its website which is still active.

Again, I believe this project was a victim of circumstances far beyond the developer’s control and had it been initiated only a few years early I think it would likely have succeeded. Due to my research, I had actually thought she had managed to sell in 2011 and therefore avoid complete financial disaster. It was not so.

At the time of that April VPD post, the property was listed with Prudential Sussex Realty on the SC and I thought maybe its new owner lived on the coast and, obviously, with these price drops it had to be in foreclosure so I kept searching for more details. Well, what I discovered stunned me because that little green house in North Van and the McCourt Rd development were connected and I posted my findings in the Comments on VPD on May 2, 2013.

I think in desperation the developer had the project redesigned perhaps as early as 2009 and that would have cost money and she re-mortgaged her house to cover costs, although that could have occurred earlier. Well, the bank called in that mortgage and in March, 2013 her home was gone. McCourt Rd, also under foreclosure, is still listed.

I have included this development here because I think it aptly illustrates how the Real Estate roller coaster ride has far reaching consequences that impact not only the buyer and the developer, but communities as well. Hold on tight, the 2013 ride down has only just begun.

To be continued...


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06-12-2013, 06:35 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-22-2013, 12:18 PM by Skook.)
#3
RE: Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil
Conclusion:

Waterfront/Edgewater at Porpoise Bay (images below):

Those crazy years attracted a big player to the SC - the privately-owned, Vancouver-based, mega developer Onni Group. Their proposal was ‘Waterfront at Porpoise Bay’ (Implying you’re offering the only possibility? Well, yeah, just look at the location map!). Given its size and development plan, perhaps it was a ‘pet’ project for the company owner as two Bocce Courts occupied prime waterfront positions.

The project came to market in 2007 which was an insane year for pricing on the SC. Development projects already a few years on the market increased prices by as much as $100,000 per unit/lot. Those coming on stream like this one offering 32 luxury townhomes, jumped in at over the million dollar mark ($1.1 - $1.6 million for the units).

It is hard to believe, but in a Vancouver Sun project profile from August 2008, Onni felt WPB would “appeal to buyers 45 years and up up…looking for a turnkey property with no maintenance” and that it would “appeal to younger families in search of a secondary residence”. Well, it appears it did neither because Waterfront at Porpoise Bay was put to sleep.

When asked in February, 2011 why the project had been mothballed, Onni development manager, Michael Kershaw offered these thoughts:

Quote:It was out of our control. It was the economy and everything kind of falling apart at the seams,” he said. “It just didn’t seem feasible to build $1.5 million homes on the water when the sky was falling. At that point in time we put a lot of our projects on hold, so it wasn’t to say anything about Vancouver or Sechelt or Toronto or Kamloops or Kelowna, it was that there was so much uncertainty in the residential market that it was a scary time so everything went on hold to reassess the situation and see where it’s at.

That reassessment led Onni to present a new design concept to the public rebranding it ‘Edgewater at Porpoise Bay’. The project would now offer 104 townhouses on site with prices starting in the mid-$300,000s. This redesign didn’t require new zoning only a Sechelt Council granted permit.

Kershaw, offered some interesting details at that February presentation (worth reading the whole article):

Quote:I think it’s a great development, it’s gorgeous. We’ve designed it really well,” he said. “We’re hoping that all 104 units will have an ocean view. The beach there is gorgeous. It just really suits the area. We’re leaving a lot of green. We’re keeping a lot of the old growth that’s on there as much as we possibly can. We’ve put in a huge effort to keep as many trees on the property as we can keep.

Let’s see 104 townhomes on ten acres and each with an ocean view…well, I would think that is all you could do Mr. Kershaw is hope unless you plan on building viewing platforms on the roofs of those two back rows of units. And, what’s this nonsense about ‘old growth’ - that area hasn’t seen ‘old growth’ since about the mid-1800s -how about 3rd growth, Mr. Kershaw. Now, be honest, the only trees you’ll likely be keeping may be a few along the north and south sides and one row bordering Sechelt Inlet Road so buyers won’t be reminded of their proximity to the gravel pit - but, no problem, the wind-born dust should take care of that.

As if 104 townhomes weren’t enough, Onni upped the ante last September (2012) wanting to slip in an additional 12 townhomes. In 2011 to get its permit, town Council required that Onni build a site package sewage treatment system to service those many, more townhomes to the tune of about $3-million because the site can’t access the town’s sewer system.

Onni now wants to hook up to the town’s sewer system and apparently those additional 12 townhomes will help make the cost more palatable. Onni also asked for a four year window “to build that extension to make sure they sell enough homes to warrant the expenditure”. If they don’t, they may go back to the 104 figure.

Good luck with either plan, Onni.

Oh, one more thing. You need to correct the Edgewater at Porpoise Bay location on your new website's Sechelt map because it is wrong. It is not up there next to Dusty Rd. Check your 2007 map, if you want to be accurate.

(Note: for some reason, Onni hasn’t put a site plan up on its Edgewater website. However, it can be found in the DOS Sept 12, 2012 CoW Agenda, page 24)

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West Sechelt Infill Area No.1 (images above):

Romantic sounding isn’t it. The DOS has identified 6 infill areas for West Sechelt and West Porpoise Bay in its Official Community Plan. All are considered “major development sites [that] have significant residential infill potential.” The largest of these infill areas is No. 1 and the majority of that land is owned by two families and both have been introduced in previous threads: the Sechelt Clayton family (developer of Trail Bay Estates) and the Vancouver Sangara family (owner of Sawarne Lumber and developer of Silverstone).

The development of this area begins to unfold as early as November, 2004 with the offer of 45 acre land donation to Capilano College to extend its Sunshine Coast campus from the Village into West Sechelt. This news even grabbed the attention of then Minister of Advanced Education, Shirley Bond, who arrived on the coast for the announcement. According to the news article college expansion was far from done deal; however, it appeared to be a win-win situation for everyone: Capilano College, Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast…and perhaps both families. As for that last point, it may have been thought, but it wasn’t spoken publically until 2006.

It was with the Clayton family Trail Bay Estates development proposal in June, 2006 was presented to the public (no one in favour according to the news story), that this land donation became a point of contention:

Quote:Trail Bay Estates is owned by the Clayton family, who, along with the Sangara family, signed a memorandum of understanding in March of this year to donate approximately 47 acres in total to the District in trust for an expanded college site, said [Sechelt] planner Ray Parfitt. The Claytons would provide 20 acres while the Sangaras, who have a larger piece of property in the area, would provide 27 acres, according to Sechelt Mayor Cam Reid. Those at the public hearing chastised council for considering approval of the site to get the donated land and questioned the actual size of donation.

“I am chair of the community advisory committee at Capilano College and I’ve been involved in this 40, 47, 13, however you want to look at it, acre donation, and it struck me the entire time that it was actually rather sleazy,” Sechelt resident Gail Riddell said, after questioning Parfitt on documents she claims to have seen that show a 13-acre college donation.

She said the developer seems to be using the donation as “a way to get smaller lot sizes and setbacks.” Many echoed Riddell’s statement. However, Reid said the college lands were not the subject of the public hearing and refused to debate the subject, to the anger of many in attendance.

The Trail Bay Estates received its zoning and just prior, the Sangara family had commenced its Silverstone development. Both developments represented only small portions of those families’ large holdings - land which had been held for years. In 2011, it was time to present a new development proposal for West Sechelt and September 23, it was placed before the public, but few bothered to attend:

Quote:The lands in question are owned by some well-known families that have been on the Coast for many years. The Clayton family owns 25.48 hectares, the Sangara family 69.44 hectares, the McKenzie family 15.52 hectares and the Brown family 8.72 hectares.

[Aplin and Martin Consultants planner, Maggie] Koka said the families have been working to develop the area since 1997. When asked why it has taken so long to come up with a plan to present to the public for the area, Koka said, “It’s a long and complicated process.”

Over the years, the property owners have had done engineering reports, a fiscal community impact assessment, a geotechnical assessment, a tree assessment, a storm water management plan, a geology report, an environmental overview report, a transportation policy and road network report, a slope analysis, view potential analysis, rainwater management study, proposed road requirement review, engineering servicing concept and a proposed land use concept plan for the property.

Now they are at the stage where they can show their plans to the public, get feedback and go to council to look for an official community plan (OCP)
amendment to move forward with subdivision and rezoning of the lots.

The proposed land use plan for the area calls for major growth with a potential for up to 2,300 homes. Those homes would be a mix of single family, intensive residential and multiple family homes. The plan calls for 30 to 40 per cent multi-family units to be developed. Integrated into the plan is a new neighbourhood centre for the area and a park of three to four hectares in size. The development would also come with pedestrian trails to link West Sechelt with downtown Sechelt.

Another public meeting held on November 12, 2011 attracted about 50 residents who raised only a few minor concerns. Perhaps, by then the attitude was “oh well, what the hell it’s only a plan for 2,300 homes adding close to 5,000 new residents to the Sechelt - we’ve seen it all before”.

On July 4, 2012, Sechelt Council adopted Bylaw No. 492-1, 2011 thereby designating certain parcels of land in West Sechelt as “West Sechelt Comprehensive Development Area #1”. Now it is only up for to the land owners to submit their developments dreams for approval. However, given the current state of Trail Bay Estates and Silverstone, it might be prudent to wait like the Drummond brothers (The Trails) for more auspicious times.

********************

As for that land donation to Cap College (now Capilano University), it appears it may be a non-event. One college document covering 2007-2010 states in March, 2006, “Business Planning underway. Donation of land to the District completed” [June, 2006 quote above indicates this was a "memorandum of understanding" only] ; however, next to this is an entry for March, 2007 it states, “Conditions for 2nd half of land donation not acceptable to college. Discussions continue”.

Other documents indicate lack of provincial funding for expansion as well as a problem with timelines associated with the land donation offering no concrete dates with which to plan an expansion.

Finally, in a 2012 “Comprehensive Self-Study Report”, the College writes:

Quote:Work to secure land for a new Sunshine Coast campus has also slowed. The existing site [Sechelt Village] offers limited potential for further physical expansion, and there is no opportunity for expansion through acquisition of surrounding properties. With the expectation of continued population growth, particularly among mid to later life learners, the university will ultimately require a new campus on the Sunshine Coast. The university is working to acquire land that is centrally located within the Sunshine Coast, close to public transportation and of sufficient size to allow for long-term development.

One would think had the land donation become a reality that paragraph above would not have been written. Well, it was a good idea at the time; but, then times change.

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Snake Oil (image above):

definition: noun; informal, chiefly North American
  • a substance sold with no real medicinal value sold as a remedy for all diseases
  • a product, policy, etc. of little real worth or value that is promoted as the solution to a problem
There is no finer example of this tried and true noun than the Sechelt airport expansion proposal presented in January, 2006, by a BC based company, Yrainucep Development Corp (YDC), its president Don Greer and vice-president Mebs Tejpar. According to the Coast Reporter news story at the time:

Quote:The proposal includes lengthening the runway to 7,200 feet to make jet usage viable and building a private recreational airport with destination vacation homes and facilities to train workers in various aviation fields.” “Greer said the airport would be geared to private corporate jets and the destination market. The latter would be drawn to the area by a new resort hotel and convention centre. Also in the plans are high-end homes where jet/plane owners would be able to park their aircrafts in the hangar/garages at the side of the homes.

More than a few local business owners embraced this grandiose scheme while the town council showed reticence. As a result, rumblings began to grow that economic growth was being stymied by a backward thinking mayor and his councillors - if that was indeed the case then in this instance the community owes a debt of gratitude to the then council for this airport proposal was flimflam at its finest. Those cooler heads on Sechelt Council prevailed and YDC and its players faded away.

It was another story in Powell River where Greer was also peddling his airport development scheme at the same time as in Sechelt. It was a similar plan and included “a gated community, a 5-star hotel, a golf course, an equestrian centre, etc.” But, in Powell River, these plans tore apart the community and came dangerously close to causing irreparable damage when the city tried to remove 827 acres from the Agricultural Land Reserve for the project; but, the application was rejected. Greer’s plans came to a screeching halt and like before he and YDC disappeared.

In the end, it’s hard to say what the financial cost was to both communities, but there had to be some in Powell River where the scheme progressed so much further.

YDC didn’t disappear entirely. By 2008, when it was obvious to Greer he wasn’t going to find enough ‘stupid’ money on the west coast to back his plans he turned to posting on Arab websites looking to tap their ‘stupid’ money. Here is one example found on a United Arab Emirate website showing, I think, how underappreciated Greer felt:

Quote:Posted by: Donnell Greer Thursday, 27 March 2008 8:01 PM[UAE] - Canada

It is interesting to note companies like this willing to invest funds into various financial service companies. However, how does a legitimate and profitable project, with better than a 20% return, gain direct contact to the heads of such funds? The usual chain of unqualified greedy intermediaries often present too many road blocks both financially and information wise, to ever reach the decision makers at the top of the investment world. Moreover, particularly in North America, history proves that most so called? bankers? lack the understanding and vision to recognize good projects in any case. The current financial situation attests to that. Yrainucep Development Corp is a Canadian company tired of the intermediaries? game. Donnell Greer, President

Yrainucep, is a strange name for company isn’t it - spell it backwards (hat tip to an earlier news story).

THE END

********************

This thread comes close to rivalling my Sunshine Coast aggregates multi-post but it does have a purpose as it lays the groundwork for a piece which I hope will pull this and many of my previous ‘threads’ together - an ambitious aim.

I am not sure when that new thread will appear but I should appeal to the GGs (graph-geeks) that frequent this forum and VCI.


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06-17-2013, 06:42 PM,
#4
Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil
Thanks for your coverage of the coastal market here. As someone who is aiming to be an urban escapee it is greatly appreciated.
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06-17-2013, 07:45 PM,
#5
RE: Sechelt - Dead Ducks, Non-fliers & Snake Oil
(06-17-2013, 06:42 PM)ant Wrote: Thanks for your coverage of the coastal market here. As someone who is aiming to be an urban escapee it is greatly appreciated.

Glad, ant, you are finding it all an interesting read. Still more to come as I will be heading north to Pender in future posts.
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