There’s no question that selling the McMechan Reservoir was the right decision.
After all, the 19.6-hectare site on 39th Avenue has not been used for water utility purposes since 2005 and the City of Vernon shouldn’t be in the business of just holding on to land if it’s not required for long-term public use.
And at a time when there is a steady demand for housing in the community, the prospect of a new residential development is welcome, and its proximity to both downtown and the north end commercial area will be economically beneficial.
On top of this, the developer has offered the city an equity stake in the development of the site. It’s not known exactly what that means but possibly such an arrangement could lead to much-needed attainable housing.
It should be pointed out that Coun. Scott Anderson voted against the motion to sell the property because it was not placed on the open market.
And that is fair comment as listing the site on the open market could have led to a higher price being attained.
But more importantly, the city works on behalf of taxpayers and all assets are publicly owned. Residents have a right to know their best interests were pursued. While property sales are considered confidential, the city must find a way of being transparent about the process being followed.
In the end, the city needs to be more open when handling public assets, but ultimately, selling McMechan Reservoir makes sense.