File photoThe City of White Rock intends to renew its current lease of land from BNSF – including the parking lots, promenade, museum and Memorial Park – for another five years, after which the lease will have to be renegotiated.

White Rock to renew BNSF lease

Agreement with railway, entering its last five year renewal option, will expire in 2023

  • Jan. 17, 2018 12:00 a.m.

White Rock is renewing its lease for waterfront land from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for another five years.

Monday, city council endorsed the recommendation from financial services director Sandra Kurylo that it exercise its option for a further renewal of the agreement. The five-year renewal will begin Aug. 1, and under terms of the lease, council is required to give six months notice that it intends to renew.

The property, which includes the promenade, Memorial Park, the Museum and Archives, three public washrooms and waterfont parking lots, is currently leased from BNSF for a minimum annual base rent of $400,000.

Under terms of the current agreement, that amount will increase to $450,000 for the five years between Aug. 1, 2018 and July 31, 2023.

Kurylo’s report said it is “critical that the city continues to have current rights to this property.”

She noted that this is the third and final renewal in the current 20-year agreement entered into with BNSF in 2003.

In response to a question from Coun. Helen Fathers, chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill said that, once the next five years is up, the city would have to negotiate a new lease with BNSF.

“So, in 2023, BNSF could say it doesn’t want to renegotiate?” Fathers asked.

“In theory,” Bottrill said.

When Mayor Wayne Baldwin said “we have no obligation to move really fast on this,” Bottrill noted that the city is required to provide a minimum of three months notice to BNSF.

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