Improvements needed in government process of selling assets: B.C. auditor general

B.C.’s auditor general says the Liberal government selling properties for less than market value in order to balance the books is normal but there is still room for improvement.

In 2012, the Liberal government sold 101 properties to balance the budget.

They established a two-year initiative called the Release of Assets for Economic Generation. Unused, under-utilized, provincial land buildings were sold, but for 66 per cent of their value.

Auditor general Carol Bellringer says provincial governments selling properties isn’t going anywhere.

“Given that real estate asset sales will continue in government, expert knowledge and judgment about when and how best to buy, maintain and sell real-estate assets to best meet future needs is critical,” she said.

Bellringer says moving forward, the government should report to the public on how selling surplus assets can be in the best interest of the province.

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READ MORE: The BC Liberals sold gobs of land for $493M. Three years later, they were worth $860M

Surrey MLA and Minister of Citizens Services Jinny Sims says the Liberals need to do more than just recommend for next time.

“They brought in their short-sighted provincewide fire sale to pat the budget and produce the illusion of it being balanced prior to the election,” said Sims.

The former Liberal government launched the asset sales plan in 2012 for what it said would be three benefits: revenue, generation of economic activity and costs savings.

The map below shows precisely where those deals happened in the 2013/14 and the 2014/15 fiscal years:

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