Province staying out of transit corridor land deal

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There will be no provincial political interference in the ongoing controversial land deal between the city and Manitoba Hydro, Crown Corporations Minister Ron Schuler declared Thursday.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/06/2016 (2432 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There will be no provincial political interference in the ongoing controversial land deal between the city and Manitoba Hydro, Crown Corporations Minister Ron Schuler declared Thursday.

“The best thing I can do for this process… let the negotiators negotiate,” Schuler said in an interview.

“It’s a mistake for the minister to walk out into the (media) scrum and begin second-guessing what the city and Hydro” are trying to work out, he said. “This is where the province gets in trouble with crown corporations.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS City council will vote on the Manitoba Hydro land deal on Wednesday.

“We’ve been really clear when it comes to crown corporations — we want to go with a new model. We would leave political interference out,” Schuler said.

Manitoba Hydro should negotiate with the city just as if the crown corporation was a business, Schuler said.

Mayor Brian Bowman and members of his executive policy committee reluctantly endorsed the $20.4-million purchase of Manitoba Hydro lands needed to complete the southwest transit corridor Wednesday, but not before the councillors criticized Hydro’s executive and how the final purchase price was reached.

An administrative report stated city officials and Hydro had an agreement to let an independent appraiser determine the value of the lands, but then Hydro balked at the $4.6-million price tag, claiming it was too low.

Hydro got a second appraisal and claimed the land is worth $32 million-$34 million. Both sides eventually agreed on $20.4 million, with the provision the cost to the city could be lowered if the city doesn’t need all the land and returns some of it to Hydro.

The 31 parcels of Hydro land along the transit corridor combined for a total 16 acres — making the deal worth $1.275 million per acre.

Hydro’s board will vote on the deal June 13 and council will vote on it June 15.

While the NDP has accused Schuler in the legislature of calling the shots for the board overseeing Hydro, the Opposition Thursday declined to make an MLA available to comment, pointing out that the province has no role in a situation involving the city and an independent body.

A Liberal caucus spokeswoman said that none of the party’s three MLAs was prepared to speak on the issue.

 

— Nick Martin, Aldo Santin

History

Updated on Thursday, June 9, 2016 8:27 PM CDT: Updates with writethru

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