At the Monday, May 2 Council Meeting, North Saanich Council confirmed its intention to transfer the land on which the Panorama Recreation Centre sits to the Capital Regional District (CRD).
North Saanich Council had first discussed and voted on the transfer during an in camera session on April 11 and continued the discussion as a subject of public significance as a Rise and Report agenda item on May 2.
The District of North Saanich intends to transfer the 6.4 hectare parcel of land to the CRD for $10.
The transfer is subject to satisfactory completion of a Notice of Disposition process, which gives the public an opportunity to express either support or opposition to Council.
The decision to transfer the land was prompted by recent changes in accounting standards for all levels of government in Canada: starting in the 2022 fiscal year, obligations arising from the retirement of assets are required under Public Sector Accounting Standards.
The District’s past practice had been to lease the property to the CRD for the operation of the recreation facility. Under a lease agreement, the Panorama Recreation Centre would be considered retired at the end of the lease term. Consequently, the Panorama Recreation Service would need to fund a significant financial reserve through increased user fees over the term of the lease. By transferring the Panorama property to the CRD, the District of North Saanich is providing the CRD security of land ownership associated with their facilities, and avoids having to increase user fees to fund the reserve.
As part of the land transfer agreement, a covenant would restrict the land use to parks and recreation purposes.
Under the terms of the land transfer agreement, if the District of North Saanich wishes to buy back some of the undeveloped property from the CRD for a public library, it can do so for the next 20 years for $10. As well, the District of North Saanich retains a Right of First Refusal on any part the property for $10.
The Peninsula Recreation Commission will continue to administer the Panorama Recreation Centre, and users from across the Saanich Peninsula will continue to enjoy its broad range of recreational opportunities.