A deal to purchase the Sickle Point property has been reached, subject to the approval by Kaleden taxpayers.
After years of effort, the Save Sickle Point committee announced an offer has been accepted for Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) taxpayers to purchase Sickle Point.
The undeveloped, 4.8-acre piece of waterfront land in Kaleden has been the subject of much debate for years as a local committee members have fundraised and campaigned to keep the environmentally-sensitive land from private development.
On Jan. 8, an offer to purchase and protect the wetland was accepted by the mortgage claimant, Lanyard Investments Inc. for $2.5 million.
“Despite initial pressure to offer the asking price of $3.195 million, we are thrilled that the fair price of the assessed value of $2.5 million has been accepted,” reads a statement from the Save Sickle Point committee.
The offer is conditional on public approval of the the RDOS borrowing bylaw the and final consent from the Supreme Court of B.C. in the court-ordered bankruptcy sale.
The RDOS is in the process of determining whether voters in the area would approve of borrowing up to $3.5 million to buy Sickle Point. The public consultation process will not be completed until some time in February.
“The accepted offer now opens the door to powerful fundraising efforts. Numerous potential donors have been waiting for assurance that the fair offer would be accepted before stepping forward to contribute,” said Randy Cranston of the Save Sickle Point committee.
The land purchase has already been supported by several hundred residents of Kaleden and conservation groups, with $284,350 in donations towards the purchase already in place.
The Save Sickle Point committee estimates the cost to taxpayers in the Kaleden Recreation Service Area will be less than $1 million.
The Save Sickle Point Committee also hopes to fundraise the entire cost of the $2.5-million purchase and they have until 2022 to do so through grant submissions, requests to governments, foundations and fundraising efforts.
“Importantly, a show of community support will do much to encourage other donors as well,” Cranston said.
The committee calls the potential purchase a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add to Kaleden’s park and lakefront green space and to support and encourage birds, wildlife, and threatened foreshore habitat. ”
According to the Save Sickle Point committee, there will be no taxation cost to local taxpayers before 2022.
“This gives the community fundraising efforts time to backfill the cost and minimize any cost to taxpayers,” the committee stated in a press release Tuesday.
“We recognize this is a lot to ask of our small community at this time” said Doreen Olson, committee member. “However, future generations will thank the far-sightedness of the community for preserving this last area of beautiful lakefront and natural habitat for everyone’s enjoyment rather than allowing it to be privately purchased and developed.”
For further information or to make a pledge visit www.kaledencommunity.com/sicklepoint
Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle