Two federal buildings yanked from sale Ottawa should call off the entire transaction -- PSAC



    OTTAWA, Oct. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government should call off the
sale of nine federal office buildings in the wake of its last minute decision
to pull two Vancouver properties out of the transaction, according to the
Public Service Alliance of Canada.
    Sale of the Sinclair Centre and another office and retail complex in
downtown Vancouver had been stalled in late September by an injunction when
the Federal Court ruled Ottawa had failed to consult the aboriginal band on
whose traditional territory the buildings reside.
    Faced with this legal roadblock, Public Works and Government Services
Minister Michael Fortier has decided to yank the two Vancouver buildings from
the sale.
    "We know the sale is a terrible deal for taxpayers. We now also know
there are serious legal issues with implications for Aboriginal land claims
that have clearly taken the federal government by surprise as well," said
Patty Ducharme, National Executive Vice-President of the PSAC.
    This legal development could have broad implications for the overall
transaction. At least six of the nine properties sold by the federal
government are located on land claimed by Aboriginal groups as traditional
territory and are subject to land claims.
    "The federal government not only failed to consult the Musqueam Band
about the sale of the Vancouver buildings, Canadian taxpayers continue to be
kept in the dark about the true costs of this transaction," Ducharme said.
    Minister Fortier has failed to release details of the transaction to the
public. But, according to an analysis by the economic consulting firm
Informetrica, the transaction will cost taxpayers almost $400 million over the
term of the 25 year lease to occupy the buildings as tenants. The immediate
impact of the sale and leaseback will be to double occupancy costs for
taxpayers. Informetrica's analysis found that taxpayers will remain liable for
additional costs and overruns on operations even after they go private.
    "The Federal Court has said wait; a Parliamentary Committee has called
for a moratorium on the sale; and objections have been raised in relation to
Aboriginal title. Mr. Fortier should put the entire sale on hold at least
until these serious financial and legal questions have been addressed," said
Ducharme.
    Sale of the remaining seven properties is scheduled to close on October
31 and sets the stage for the disposition of an additional 31 properties
located across Canada.

    
                                                               (Backgrounder)
                                                            October 24, 2007

    Annual Cost to Taxpayers for Nine Federal Buildings
    Before & After Sale to Larco Investments
    (2007$ millions)

    Property                          Before Sale ($2007)  After Sale ($2007)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Harry Hays Building - Calgary             $5,020,281         $20,284,071
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Canada Place - Edmonton                   $7,158,080         $22,601,196
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CRA Building - Montréal                   $3,902,772          $9,124,468
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RCMP Building, Montréal                   $3,482,530          $6,108,626
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    T. D'Arcy McGee Bldg., Ottawa             $7,184,302         $16,093,700
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Skyline Complex, Ottawa                  $20,154,119         $31,480,300
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Joseph Shepard Bldg., Toronto             $7,357,252         $17,746,600
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gov't of Can Bldg., Vancouver             $2,637,251          $8,535,991
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sinclair Centre, Vancouver                $2,113,746          $6,536,914
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Value                              $59,010,332        $138,511,866

    Notes:

      - Before Sale includes operating costs plus 2% management fee on costs
        less net parking revenue
      - After Sale includes lease payment, operating costs, and 2% management
        fee on lease and operating costs
      - For Sinclair Centre only office space and parking is considered.

    Source: Informetrica
    




For further information:

For further information: Mark Rogers, PSAC Communications, (613)
323-1728


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