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A public private partnership to redevelop the downtown core of Maple Ridge has been ruled illegal by the highest court in British Columbia.

In a unanimous decision, the BC Court of Appeal has found that the agreement between the city, P3 International Trade and Investments Inc. and Voth Bros. Developments Ltd. was invalid because residents were not given a chance to vote on it.

The terms of the agreements are outrageous and represent all that can be bad about a public private partnership,” CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill says.

The city agreed to a 50-year, $25 million deal where they fronted $7 million to the developer. The city also agreed to pay $2 million for demolition and another $2 million for capital financing.

As well as the office space, the developer promised to build a hotel and an arts centre. But neither project has been built. A problem? Not if you have a clause in your contract that says “the developer does not agree to a specific completion date for any specific item of work.”

There are many questions to be asked, and we think the citizens of Maple Ridge deserve answers,” O’Neill said. “So we are calling on council to hire a credible, independent auditor to do a forensic audit to get to the bottom of this disaster.”