The City of Abbotsford spent $4 million this year buying up land, but the details remain secret.
The city disclosed the large land buys in last week’s budget. But which properties were bought and why can’t be disclosed because they are part of an in camera council proceeding. Council meetings can be closed to the public on land, labour and legal issues when it is believed the release of such information poses a financial risk to the city.
A city spokesperson said the properties “align with strategic initiatives.”
Mayor Henry Braun said the public won’t remain in the dark for long.
“I’m expecting that will be wound up in the next two weeks,” he said. Once the issue is no longer part of the closed committee meeting, Braun said the city would reveal which properties were bought and for what reason.
“We’re going to rise and report on it because the public does need to know,” he said.
In recent years, the city has continued to buy up land around Mill Lake. It has also bought properties to the west of the civic precinct, and continues to have long-term plans to build a new police headquarters.
The city’s preliminary budget for 2020 sets aside $250,000 for “land development – special projects.” The city said that, if approved, the money “will be utilized to review opportunities related to some of the City’s real estate assets.”
Officials did not elaborate during last week’s extensive budget meetings.
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