Zero parcels posted for B.C.'s February land sale

B.C. holds its first land sale of 2019 this week, but next month there will be no parcels up for grabs.

The province, which holds monthly Crown petroleum and natural gas (P&NG) rights auctions, has 12 parcels posted for Jan. 16, and results should be released the following day. The February 2019 sale posting, however, says: “There will be no parcels offered for the February 2019 sale.”

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It’s analogous but slightly different to a situation two years ago.

The February 2016 sale produced $0 in bonus bids for the province, although seven parcels in that sale were posted, contrasting the 2019 sale which won’t even have one parcel to bid on (DOB, Feb. 26, 2016).

According to the B.C government, there were parcels requested by industry for the February 2019 sale, but due to First Nation band office closures over the Christmas break, additional time was requested by First Nations to review and comment on all proposed parcels.

Consultation agreements and protocols with First Nations allow for extensions to the review period when a request is made.

Although extensions to the review period are periodically made on a parcel-by-parcel basis at the request of First Nations, including other provincial government agencies and local governments, it is unusual for all requested parcels to miss a publication, the province said.

The energy ministry in a statement to the said that it is not aware of this situation having happened previously and does not anticipate this happening on a regular basis.

B.C. is coming off a much weaker year in land sales. For 2018, bonus bids were off nearly 63 per cent and the average price also plunged by 58 per cent, year-over-year. Sale revenue was largely fueled by a $12.83 million auction in January 2018 and a $42.08 million sale in June 2018.

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