Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wellcox Rail Yard ... Good Deal or Disaster?

Is CP Rail Pulling Another Fast One??

With much fanfare and hoopla' city hall has announced the potential acquisition of what sounds like a great piece of property on the waterfront. Note, I did say 'sounds' like as even at this early stage there are enough alarm bells ringing that everyone should be sitting up and taking notice.

First Alarm Bell: "Numerous parties have shown interest in the property, but all have declined to complete a deal due to the myriad of issues associated with the property including environmental issues, perpetual rights of way and the costs associated with the subdivision."

When the private sector doesn't think it is a good deal, why does the public sector think so? Who at city hall has demonstrated skills in property evaluation and development? The VICC raises enough alarm bells, to say no more. Giving away the old annex for $1 also needs to be pointed out.

Second Alarm Bell: Given that Mayor Ruttan pointed to the fact the plan for this property includes direct road access from Front Street, why is the city (that is you and I) assuming the risk and future costs associated with maintaining the trestle and that long ribbon of seemingly unrelated road?

Could it be that CP Rail is just trying to once again divest itself of responsibility for maintaining the assets they have pretty much bled dry and are now leaving for others to pick up. Shades of the E&N Railway seems to ring a loud bell here.

It would seem far more sensible for CP Rail to continue to own the trestle and roadway and sever off the nearly rectangular portion of the lot separately to the city, absent the trestle and the roadway. Perhaps Mr. Dumas at the harbour authority would like to buy the other part of this parcel  so as to maintain continued access to the cruise ship terminal?

Consider This Alternate Proposal



  1. Submitted by Janet Irvine -
    Colliers International’s listing for the Wellcox Railyard Lands, known as 7 Port Way & 1161 Milton Street, offered the following:

    Land Area: 53.00 Acres.Sale Price:$7,900,000.00.

    The City’s news release of December 13, 2012 advises that:
    -It has made a (conditional) offer to purchase 26.7 acres for an agreed price of $3.4 million, and

    -The property is comprised of land and water, with the majority being used by SeaSpan (intermodal shipping) and Island Corridor Foundation (freight and passenger rail), both of whom hold land tenure and perpetual rights of way. Wonder if Canadian Pacific ever received a prior written offer(s)? And if not, why not?

    1. So as SeaSpan and Island Corridor have tenure and perpetual rights of way - does that mean it would always be industrial and ugly?

  2. The environmental liability of the property should be assessed with a independent Stage 2 Environmental Site Assessment.

    I bet that is the real issue with this property. Liability to the value and risk of off site contamination on neighboring properties.



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