Marina Lease Negotiations
Last updated: September 10, 2021
The District of Oak Bay owns the Marina lands located at Turkey Head and has a lease with the Province for the foreshore/aquatic area occupied by Oak Bay Marina. The District leases the land/buildings and subleases the foreshore/aquatic area to the Oak Bay Marine Group. The leases expire in December 2022.
On September 14, 2020, Council directed staff to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) document towards obtaining proposals for a new 30-year lease of the upland and foreshore/aquatic crown lands associated with the municipally owned marina facilities located at 1327 Beach Drive.An RFP procurement is a distinctly different process than policy changes, or planning engagements, or rezoning applications that change permitted land uses; these all legislatively require opportunity for public input. RFPs are not required to provide opportunity for public engagement. This RFP procurement process is about negotiating a lease within the framework of existing permitted uses under the District's Zoning Bylaw.
The RFP for lease of Oak Bay Marina Lands and Marina was issued on September 18, 2020. Proposals were due by November 30, 2020. For public entities, best practices require that a Request for Proposal process be undertaken in a way that ensures fairness and transparency. In this case, the requirements for fairness and transparency have been met through the involvement of a third-party external fairness advisor, and numerous opportunities for public input.
The District recognizes the historical connections that the Lekwungen people, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, have to the land on which the District is located.
The Province has a duty to consult with First Nations in relation to proposed dispositions of Crown land that may affect the rights of the First Nation. What the District did, as a separate level of government with different and distinct responsibilities from the Province, was to stipulate respect for First Nations culture, language, traditions and world view as a lease objective and guiding principle and to encourage proponents to engage with First Nations in formulating their response to the Request for Proposal. The negotiation process allows for ongoing work to achieve these and other reconciliation goals. Ongoing respectful dialogue with First Nations remains a top priority for Council generally and within this RFP process.
Following receipt of proposals, staff undertook a technical evaluation of each submission. Two proposals achieved technical scores sufficient (minimum 70%) to have community amenity proposals reviewed. Council directed that proposals clearing this threshold be released for public review and feedback. The two community amenity proposals forwarded for review were named Proposal 1 and Proposal A. Proponents were advised that community amenity proposals would be read by the public and Council and that Council would evaluate and score the community amenity section separately from all other information provided. To support as unbiased review as possible, proponents were directed to refrain from using company-specific information or references. The documents given to proponents indicated that staff could remove information that might reveal the identity of the proponent. In this regard, staff redacted some references. Redacted references are marked with black strike-through lines.
Public input was sought through an online questionnaire that ran from February 9, 2021 to March 2, 2021. Results are available here. Public input was also requested by way of correspondence with Council and at a Committee of the Whole meeting held March 1, 2021. Public input opportunities were extensively advertised/promoted. Among hundreds of good ideas heard through the public engagement process, some consistent themes emerged, including the importance of ocean environmental protection, seeking opportunities for First Nations reconciliation, access to beaches, supporting small craft watersports, all-ages walkability, opportunities for gatherings, and of course ensuring the District sees revenue proportional to the high value of the property. The District thanks the community for taking the time to share their experiences, expertise, and ideas to help guide and inform this process. The feedback received will be top of mind as the District enters negotiations.
Following scoring of technical, community amenity and financial proposals, Council, late in May 2021, selected Proponent 1 as the preferred party with whom to commence negotiations. Community input on amenities was considered in scoring proposals.
Over the late spring/early summer, the parties worked with professional advisors to prepare for negotiations. The first negotiation meeting took place July 15, 2021. Among the items discussed at the meeting was identification of Proponent 1 by name. Release of this information required agreement of the Proponent and this was considered best dealt with in the context of the first negotiation meeting. With Proponent agreement, the District could then identify Proponent 1 as the Oak Bay Marine Group. Another item discussed at the meeting was public release of Oak Bay Marine Group’s technical proposal. With Proponent agreement, the District was able to release this information (redacted to remove sensitive commercial information).
Lease negotiations are part of a formal procurement process. The process started in 2019 and is anticipated to last through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. The diagram below illustrates key steps in the process.
Prior to signing a lease for the Marina lands, the District is required under the Community Charter to publish notice of its intention to grant the lease and identify the amount of rent and other consideration to be received under the lease.