POWELL RIVER, B.C. – Powell River’s superintendent of schools is awaiting word on whether or not the Sino Bright land sale is going to fall through.
Jay Yule said he has corresponded with Sino Bright Investments Ltd. owners Yufang Sun and Quan Ouyang via email and the WeChat app, noting that from their perspective, they want to make sure Powell River residents are on board with what they are doing.
Last month, the Powell River Waterfront Development Corporation (PRWDC) accepted an offer by Sino Bright to purchase 10 acres of land next to Brooks Secondary for the development of an International School Campus.
But last Friday, PRWDC president Wayne Brewer told the MyPowellRiverNow.com newsroom that the deal was in jeopardy due to, he said, members of the public alleging lack of transparency and backroom dealings.
Now, Brewer and others, including Yule, are waiting to see what Sun’s and Ouyang’s next steps are. He said he expects word on the sale “anytime.”
“They have major concerns around the community reaction to their offer to purchase the land, and so I think they are coming up with a plan to look at a way to be able to back up and maybe re-look at it and make sure that people feel that everything was done fairly,” Yule said, “because they obviously don’t want to get started in a community where it is divided in terms of whether it was fair or not in terms of them purchasing the land. I think that’s the plan going forward and they said they are going to send something formal to that effect.”
From his perspective, Yule believes that Sino Bright will likely back out of the sale, but he hopes there will be some kind of solution where they may be able to have an opportunity to buy the land in the future.
“The best case scenario is they slow down… and let the city and the corporation work through a process that everyone thinks is fair and reasonable and that they can find a solution,” Yule said.
“Really their goal is to have some land that is in and around Brooks (Secondary), ideally, where they can start with some student housing and expand the program with us,” Yule said.
Come critics say the land was sold on the cheap. The property was to be subdivided out of the remaining 80 acres of Lot 2 DL 450 (the former golf course lands in the Townsite) for $300,000, with a planned completion date of Aug. 1.
Yule said “people have a right to be concerned about the process for the land acquisition because ultimately that is public land.”
“But I think the other reactions are people not understanding the whole picture or concept,” Yule added.
But Yule said “a lot of people we’ve talked to are quite supportive of international education being part of a growing economy in Powell River.”