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Point Hope Shipyard land could be sold to Ralmax by City of Victoria


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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:12 AM

The City of Victoria passed a motion to consider the sale of Point Hope Shipyard land (four parcels in total) currently used by the Ralmax Group of Companies for ship building and ship maintenance purposes.


Photo courtesy of C. Ben Isitt, one of two councillors (together with Shellie Gudgeon) to vote against the motion.

Here is the link to Councillor Isitt's take on the motion.

My interpretation of this is that at some point in the future, perhaps not this decade or even in the 2020's, the City of Victoria will start reclaiming industrial sites along the Upper Harbour and rehabilitating the land into residential or civic uses. The desire to move industry out of the core is no secret as we've all heard of unhappy residents complaining about the noise and smell of industry. Eventually public pressure will assure industry moves out of the city.

Therefore Ralmax buying the land today ensures they won't be evicted, so-to-speak, if/when the tide turns against them.

My 2 cents, of course.

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#2 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:27 AM

First, I think your link to Isitt is wrong. Unless his take is that picture. It may say 1000 words, who knows.

Eventually public pressure will assure industry moves out of the city.


I'm not so sure about that. Current political climate is allowing more and more chickens into residential areas, who would have thought that 30 years ago?

Ralmax owning the land makes sense, if they pay a fair market price. Why should the city be a landlord of industrial land? And maybe Ralmax owning it means they can better leverage it to invest in their industry (ie. secure loans for capital improvements etc.).
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#3 Mike K.

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:35 AM

Fixed the link.

About industry, the City of Victoria has spoken of reclaiming industrial lands, bit by bit, as opportunities present themselves. Songhees, Selkirk Waterfront, The Railyards, Dockside Green, and now the hydro site on the downtown side of the harbour, all reclaimed industrial lands (hydro will be mixed-use).

Essentially any time industrial land becomes available the development community swoops in to purchase land for residential or mixed-use development. Or in the case of Dockside Green, the City sells it for residential development.

In Vic West we've spoken of the erosion of industry for many, many years, and how all of the industrial land we see now will eventually be displaced. In fact people are buying real-estate in Vic West that overlooks the harbour or is near the harbour/Gorge with the expectation that within a decade or two there will be even less industrial activity than there is now and land values will respond accordingly.

I think Ralmax is very cognisant of the change in land uses and feels it needs to protect itself by owning outright the land it currently leases. IMO if we can sell the land at market value (although I doubt we would, Ralmax will likely make the case that they're the only suitable tenant for the land without daunting reclamation costs) we have a real opportunity. If this will be another fire sale I won't support it.

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#4 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:50 AM

I guess there is a big difference between private land, and public land. And then you have the City that decides zoning for both.

About industry, the City of Victoria has spoken of reclaiming industrial lands, bit by bit, as opportunities present themselves.


They have stated that somewhere in a plan?

Isitt seems to have some fair questions, I'd say, by reading his post.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#5 tedward

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:32 AM

Is this some kind of joke? The first the public hears about a sale of city land is when they vote to sell based on what appears to be a secret pre-negotiated deal?

How exactly do we get the best value for city land if it is not put on the open market?

I have no idea if this is a good idea or not but the city council needs to have an open and honest discussion about city-owned land first THEN offer it for sale in order to get the best deal.

How in the hell do these secret backroom deals keep getting approved by this council?

Oh wait, maybe the total lack of anything resembling investigative journalism in this town as under-funded news organizations try to keep track of more than a dozen local governments all playing by different rules has something to do with it?

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#6 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:38 AM

^ It's not that simple. Ralmax already has a long-term lease on parts of the property, not yet on other parts.

http://www2.canada.c...75-45670174e126

I'm in favour of the City negotiating a good deal for them to get out of the landlord business, generally.
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#7 tedward

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:26 AM

^ It's not that simple. Ralmax already has a long-term lease on parts of the property, not yet on other parts.

So what?

How does that change the need for our council to make informed, open decisions about the potential disposal of public land?

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#8 Mike K.

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:32 AM

They have stated that somewhere in a plan?


I would highly doubt there is anything contained within a formal plan. I am referring to a public meeting once held in Vic West where City reps matter-of-factly stated that industrial uses on the harbour are on the way out. I seem to recall media coverage along the same lines as well but I couldn't tell you where or when, etc.

I mean this isn't really a secret. Industrial uses along the harbour have been disappearing for decades and Ralmax is likely the source of many complaints by residents of Dockside Green.

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#9 Hotel Mike

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:15 AM

I don't think industrial uses will be completely eliminated on the harbour. Some companies, such as Ralmax, need water access. Plus Council has always said they prefer a mix of uses on the upper harbour. Clearly the residents of Dockside Green were very aware of what they were buying in to.

Look at the peaceful co-existence between the James Bay condos, and the fish store and Daniels Electronics. I think a good balance actually adds value.
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#10 Bob Fugger

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:32 AM

^ It's not that simple. Ralmax already has a long-term lease on parts of the property, not yet on other parts.

http://www2.canada.c...75-45670174e126

I'm in favour of the City negotiating a good deal for them to get out of the landlord business, generally.


Why? Likely, it's bare land in a triple net sitation, meaning the only thing the City does is cash the cheque every month. I'd rather that there was some public consultation first. And with that, I can't believe I'm actually siding with Ben Isitt. Will wonders never cease? :squint:

#11 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:43 AM

So what?

How does that change the need for our council to make informed, open decisions about the potential disposal of public land?


Well, it's not that easy to sell land that has commercial tenant on it. Or at least you have limited other parties interested, other than that tenant.

I think most of the public would be bored silly, or utterly ignorant of all the issues with this particular land, and the details of the leases, soil conditions, water access issues and all the rest. This is one case where I think we should leave it up to the experts, and not have an ignorant public weighing in with a relatively uninformed opinion on the disposal of these lands. But generally, I don't think the public much cares if Ralmax has a 30-year lease, or they have a right to purchase. Now, the public might want to convert the area to a park, but that is not in the cards.
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#12 Mike K.

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:18 PM

Look at the peaceful co-existence between the James Bay condos, and the fish store and Daniels Electronics. I think a good balance actually adds value.


Very light industrial and food plants/services are not the same as the heavy industrial operations in Vic West and Burnside/Gorge and over time as more residents flock to reclaimed industrial lands pressure to remove all heavy industrial operations will grow. It's the natural order of things and this has played out and is currently playing out throughout the Upper and Inner harbours, and inland with the Roundhouse/Bayview projects.

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#13 Bingo

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 01:59 PM

I would support Ralmax being able to purchase the land and being able to expand their long established marine operation, but I can already hear the whining and the petitions, the pitchforks...

#14 dasmo

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 02:24 PM

I think the way Ralmax has fixed up that zone and the way they conduct business is pretty darn respectful of the rest of the neighborhood. The Dockside Green plan also has light Industrial/commercial fronting this area so it should be a compatible existence for a long time to come. Of all the cronyism deals that I could support this would be one of them...

#15 martini

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 04:20 PM

Why? Likely, it's bare land in a triple net sitation, meaning the only thing the City does is cash the cheque every month. I'd rather that there was some public consultation first. And with that, I can't believe I'm actually siding with Ben Isitt. Will wonders never cease? :squint:

That's my issue as well. This sale could be the best thing for Victoria, but the flawed process out the gate leaves a bad taste.

#16 LJ

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 07:46 PM

How about this scenario. Ralmax buys the land at a preferential price that gets them out of a lease that runs to 2045.

Then over a few years they quietly start winding down their business and sell the property on the open market for a huge profit.
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#17 martini

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 07:49 PM

How about this scenario. Ralmax buys the land at a preferential price that gets them out of a lease that runs to 2045.

Then over a few years they quietly start winding down their business and sell the property on the open market for a huge profit.


^This

#18 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:16 PM

How about this scenario. Ralmax buys the land at a preferential price that gets them out of a lease that runs to 2045.

Then over a few years they quietly start winding down their business and sell the property on the open market for a huge profit.


Completely conceivable. Real estate fortunes have been lost and made because one party got it right, and the other got it wrong. Sometimes the "winning" party did it by shear brilliance, sometimes by dumb luck.

How about this scenario. The city unloads the property at a very good price, because Ralmax has little alternative for another site that suits what they do. But North America continues in an economic haze for another 15 years, and even the ship repair Ralmax has now fades as it becomes even more cheap to get shipyards in Mexico do the work for less. Meanwhile, more contamination shows up on the land, and the city was within all its rights to sell it as is back in 2011, so Ralmax is stuck with worthless property. They fold, the city gets the property back in a tax sale in 2032.
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#19 spanky123

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:58 PM

I thought that it was a federal lease that Ralmax had an not a municipal one - shows you what I know.

I agree with tedward though. The fairest way to dispose of any Government property is through an auction or sealed bid process. Set a reserve and if Ralmax is the only suitable proponent then they will be sure to win.

#20 Hotel Mike

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:54 AM

People. You keep forgetting that Ralmax has come to the City saying they are interested in purchasing the land they've been on for scores of years. The City has said, make us an offer. So far, so good. Where's the problem?
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