Andrew Wilkinson must answer for his billion dollar land sell off, says Sims

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VICTORIA– A new Vancouver Sun analysis shows that BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson led a sell off of $1 billion in publicly owned properties between 2013 and 2017.

The Sun’s report sheds new light on the much-criticized program, which Wilkinson managed as Minister of Citizens’ Services in 2013 and 2014.

Here’s what we know about Wilkinson’s fire sale:

  • Many of the sites were sold to developers who had collectively given millions to the BC Liberals, including land in Burke Mountain that was sold for $43 million under the appraised value. This sale was criticized by the Auditor-General. (Vancouver Sun, July 11, 2018).
  • Some sites were later re-sold for hundreds of millions more than government’s sale price, with developers pocketing the profits instead of British Columbians. (Vancouver Sun, June 14, 2019)
  • British Columbians lost out on $367 million over three years as property values skyrocketed on land sold between 2013 and 2015. (Global, Feb 7, 2018)
  • Although the sites were supposedly ‘surplus,’ some were leased back to government after the sales because they were still needed. (Vancouver Sun, June 17, 2019)
  • Many of the sites were located in growing communities where land will need to be acquired for school and hospital construction. In Surrey, 21 sites were sold. (Vancouver Sun, June 17, 2019)

Although Andrew Wilkinson launched and managed the program for nearly two years, he has refused to answer questions from The Vancouver Sun.

The revenue generated by the sales is roughly equal to the foregone revenue from the BC Liberals’ income tax cut for the top 2%, which cost $1 billion over four years.

Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services:

“Andrew Wilkinson recklessly sold off public land to pay for BC Liberal tax cuts for the rich, and now he won’t even answer questions about it. His fire sale made BC Liberal donors richer while costing British Columbians hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s shown that when given the chance, he’ll put his rich friends first and make everyone else pay for it. That’s a risk we can’t afford to take.”