The BC Supreme Court recently approved a request by the Sidney and North Saanich Memorial Park Society to update their Trust Agreement (PNR, 15 April, 2016).
Apparently initiated at the behest of the town of Sidney, this change claims to pave the way for construction of a new Sidney fire hall.
The rejoicing accompanying this announcement may be premature. In paragraph 31, “The Attorney General submits that the contemplated use of the Trust Property by the town of Sidney, even if focused on public safety, which may be of benefit to the Residents, does not constitute “use” by the Residents of the Trust Property for ‘community, cultural, athletic and recreational purposes’…”.
In paragraph 123 the Judge underscores the concern that the proposed lease may not conform to the charitable purposes of the Trust.
The Memorial Park Society Trust administers the Mary Winspear Center and associated properties for all Peninsula residents north of Central Saanich, not just those of the town of Sidney.
The amended Trust Deed (para 111) requires that every Tenant shall permit Residents to use the lands in the manner stipulated above and to confirm this conformity every five years.
Can a fire hall meet these constraints?
In light of the above under reported aspect to this court ruling, one must ask if Sidney and the Memorial Park Society did very much homework on this file before approaching the BC Supreme Court.
Now, with these opinions from the Attorney General and Madam Justice Dardi, a rethink might be in order before the hole they have started digging gets any deeper.
Springfield Harrison, North Saanich