Langley Township spent $2.7 million acquiring a piece of land in 2012 that Trinity Western University had received for free.
And according to the assessment at the time, the township spent 80 per cent over the assessed value for the 20.5-hectare piece of land at 7645 Glover Road.
The deal raises a lot of questions, particularly so for Langley taxpayer Dennis Townsend, who has spent months trying to figure out what went on. Townsend is so adamant it was a bad deal that he hired lawyers, pored over official papers and spent $1,000 on a newspaper ad expressing his concerns.
The land parcel is covered with blackberry bushes and criss-crossed by streams and gulleys.
The township says it bought the property with the intention of making it into parkland.
The property is located across the street from Trinity Western University, and is part of the area the township plans to expand as a university district.
On May 14, 2012, the 23-hectare property on Glover Road was owned by Hugh and Sharon Little. Hugh Little is a North Vancouver businessman who has served on Trinity's board of governors and with Trinity's charitable foundation.
The next day, the land was subdivided into two sections.
The larger, parklandzoned section was transferred by the Littles to Trinity Western University for just $1. Trinity then flipped the property to the township for $2.7 million later the same day.
The end result was 20.5 hectares of parkland for the township and 2.5 hectares of student-dormitory-zoned land which the Littles retained.
The inflated purchase price caught the eyes of appraisers at B.C. Assessment.
Trevor Brown, senior appraiser with B.C. Assessment, rechecked the figures for The Province.
"Our assessment is accurate. Langley's purchase price was significantly above the assessment (of $1.5 million)," said Brown.
Township property manager Scott Thompson said "independent appraisers" were used to determine the property's worth.
The price was determined by averaging three appraisals, said Thompson, who believes "the sale was at market value."
@ Copyright 2013