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Province seeks $9 million from sale of old hospital lands

Former MSA Hospital grounds on McCallum Road set for sale after residential care project redrawn.
The province is hoping to make $9 million from the sale of land on McCallum Road that used to once house the MSA Hospital.

The provincial government is eyeing a $9 million pay day from the sale of the site of the old MSA Hospital grounds on McCallum Road, according to documents obtained by The News.

The site had been slated for redevelopment, with a vision for a "Campus of Care for seniors" and featuring a 200-bed residential care facility, community health centre, multi-family housing, and retail and park space.

But a request for proposals (RFP) was later yanked and, in the fall of 2015, Fraser Health CEO Michael Marchbank told the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District board that the residential care facility would be built elsewhere and much of the lands would be sold off.

In response to questions by The News last May, Fraser Health officials said staff were evaluating new plans, with such a facility still possible either on the McCallum Road or elsewhere in Abbotsford.

One, or several, new RFPs were anticipated to be issued within 12 months. None have been issued yet, though.

A provincial program, called the Realization of Assets for Economic Generation (RAEG), requires public bodies to dispose of unused land. As part of that program, Fraser Health, via the Ministry of Health, had been instructed to dispose of the MSA hospital lands by last spring if it wasn't going to use them. That deadline has since been moved to the spring of 2017.

Documents obtained by The News through a freedom of information request show the province is hoping to make at least $9 million from the sale of the property.

The documents also include a reason for the delay in disposing of the lands.

In December of 2015, the issue was described as: "Project scope change from a site redevelopment/land sale to a land sale resulting in an additional notification of area First Nations and expected delay in finalizing a sale."

Reasons for the changes are not included. Last spring, Fraser Health said confidentiality rules forbade it from disclosing why the original RFP for the development of the site failed.

The News filed a freedom of information request with Fraser Health last year on the subject. However, despite the statutory deadline for the disclosure of relevant having passed, no documents have been yet disclosed.