Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Luxurious new offices and enduring gratitude

News item: BC Ferries hiking fuel surcharges, Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee
"Ferry fares will rise by 2.5 percent on Dec. 12 on the major routes as B.C. Ferry Services Inc. adds to the fuel surcharge.

"A press release attributes the hike to the rising cost of marine diesel fuel..."

I leave readers to draw their own conclusions about ferry fares and fuel oil prices. In the meantime, consider recent spending priorities of David Hahn and the BC Ferry Directors. At the least, taxpayers and ferry users ought to be concerned, perhaps outraged.

In 2008, the company announced plans to move into 90,000 square feet of a building at 800 Yates Street then under construction by Jawl Properties. B.C. Ferries sold its long time head office building, 53,000 sq.ft. at 1112 Fort Street, to the Jawls. By sheer good fortune, the new owners quickly found another tenant: Elections BC.

According to Note 12 on the BCF 2011 Audited Financials, the lease of new offices in downtown Victoria is for fifteen years, with four renewal options of five years each. The lease agreement includes payment of building operating costs and property taxes but other terms are undisclosed.

In addition to signing a long term lease before completion, BC Ferries lent the Jawls, developers of the $100 million property, $24.2 for fifteen years, secured by a second mortgage of the property.

What does BC Ferries get out of this? Certainly, it gets substantially more luxurious executive offices, almost twice the size of those in the old building. They also earn enduring gratitude of the influential Jawl family, people who style themselves as the largest private owners of premium offices and industrial space in the capital. Their properties include Cordova Bay Golf Course, Mattick’s Farm, Sayward Hill and Selkirk Waterfront. They are, of course, substantial contributors to the BC Liberal Party.

The Atrium, 800 Yates St., Victoria

As a footnote, the Jawls did not have to look long or far for a new prime tenant for the old BC Ferries HQ building. The new tenant: Elections BC.

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  1. It's interesting Norm that when Jawl announced renovations to the Old BC Ferries office on Fort Street they had no tenant in place. Then as soon as renovations are complete, another Government agency moves in. How lucky is that when there are so many empty offices around the greater Victoria area. As well since when has it been written in the BC Coastal Ferries Act that it may operate as a lending institution ? And why does David Hahn have the authority to choose who should be receiving these loans ? As well it's very interesting that Jawl Properties went into this project without it's own funding ? Is BC Ferries now branching into land development ? Like you Norm, I'm amazed that taxpayers are not demanding answers from their MLA's. Maybe I should start a construction company, get a loan from BC Ferries and use Christy's job creation plan has collateral ?

    Guy in Victoria

  2. Guy, even if you had no money to start with, if BC Ferries gave you $25-million and a gold plated long term lease agreement to take to a first mortgage company, you would have no trouble financing a $100-million building project.

    This is just one more financial abuse by BC Liberals to advantage their friends. It won't stop until they are kicked from office and every one of them eliminated from the political landscape.

  3. And so will I ( won't stop ) Norm.

    Guy in Victoria

  4. Meanwhile, look at where the Auditor General and his staff work....

    B.C.’s government watchdog working among the rodents

  5. Yup, let them eat cake.

  6. As a member of the Salt Spring FAC (Ferry Advisory Committee) this does not surprise me over the last 5 years I have had attended meetings with countless numbers of BC Ferries management personnel. There are so many VP and or directors I have lost count. After being a president of my own business I know what a lean business should look like and I know when I'm seeing a bloated bureaucracy. The cost of administration of the ferry system is totally disproportionate to the scope of the business. For readers information the restaurant on the main floor of the atrium building, where BC Ferries has the top three floors, is called the PIG. As the old saying goes "Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered" there time will come.
    Great Site Norm
    Cheers Scott Simmons
    Salt Spring Island



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