The District of West Vancouver says it does not agree with the way the Attorney General of B.C. has characterized the events that led to the district selling private land that was bequeathed to the district for public park use.
The Brissenden family of West Vancouver donated their two lots (2519 and 2539 Rosebery Avenue) to the district in the 80s asking that the 2.4 acres of their donated land be used as a public park. Their home was never designated as a park and it was given over to a caretaker.
In 2017, the district moved ahead with a legal application to amend the trust donation so the lots could be sold, worth about $10 million, to buy two private properties on Argyle Avenue, vital for the district’s ambitious Ambleside waterfront vision.
The Attorney General of B.C. is now taking the district to court over that broken promise, alleging a breach of duty as a trustee in acting for the best interests of designating the property as a park in the way envisioned by Brissendens.
West Vancouver says the Attorney General’s actions are unfortunate, and West Vancouver intends to continue to act in the best interests of its residents and community while also complying with its legal obligations for Brissenden Park. The district says it engaged in thorough public consultation and there was general approval for the district’s plan.
“This step was taken for the District to continue providing the best overall park service possible for its residents. Brissenden Park will continue to be available as a neighborhood park, and has been upgraded with trails which connect to the District’s trail system,” the district said.
District also took exceptions to the Attorney General’s assertion that the district is making a profit with the sale. “The District is a public body which operates on a non-profit basis. The District’s park program also operates on a non-profit basis, and is subsidized from the District’s general tax and cost recovery revenue to the extent of several million dollars annually,” the district said.
The district said it will honor the name and memory of the bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Brissenden by commemorating their name on waterfront as “Brissenden Waterfront Park”.
“The District will bring home the Brissenden name to both the ongoing users of the original Brissenden Park and the many thousands of residents who visit the waterfront area each year.”
The District says it is not presently taking steps to defend the legal action, because the Notice of Civil Claim has not been served.