Oak Bay will look at financial impacts before committing between up to $90,000 to a park in Saanich.
Colloquially known as Kings Park, Saanich purchased the surplus BC Hydro land between Kings Road and Haultain Street for $5.5 million in 2019. The district financed the purchase through borrowing $4 million and tapping into reserve funds for $1.5 million. Saanich maintains it will sell portions of the lot if it cannot raise $2.75 million.
A group of community members are fundraising that balance through the Saanich Legacy Foundation, using grants, personal donations and requests for contributions from local, provincial and federal government agencies.
The fundraising campaign kicked off in September 2019 and set a deadline of Aug. 31, 2020. That has been extended multiple times because of the COVID-19 pandemic and is now March 31, 2022.
Now, Saanich asked Oak Bay and Victoria to help fund the greenspace at 1843 Kings Rd. – routinely used by residents of all three communities.
Victoria agreed to provide $250,000 with potential to give another $150,000 next year, while Oak Bay will consider a request for between $60,000 and $90,000.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes appeared before Oak Bay’s virtual council meeting July 14 to talk about the request, stressing the park’s worth as a community asset can’t be undervalued.
Oak Bay council sought funding questions and dipped into potential uses, which all parties admitted it’s too early to establish. Haynes reiterated his reluctance to see Saanich sell off portions of the land to pay for the purchase.
Oak Bay staff will bring back a report, showing where the requested funds might come from and what the impacts would be for taxpayers. No date was set for the report to come back to council, but it is prioritized.
Council agendas are online and meetings can be streamed at oakbay.civicweb.net.
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