Financial Services Minister Hon. Wayne Panton says the use of the Environmental Protection Fund in the purchase of the Smith Barcadere land is justified.
He says it makes more sense to use the fund, which accrues $5 million dollars per year, than pulling from the $145 million surplus. On Monday legislators unanimously voted to withdraw the money from the fund to buy the land from developer Bronte.
Minister Panton says the surplus is deposited into our reserves and its important to maintain certain ratios hence the EPF was used instead.
“Some may say that the Smith Barcadere property, if you were to assess it in terms of environmental value, the view might be it is not as high as other properties might be. But I still think it does have environmental value and the National Conservation Council agrees with that,”Mr Panton says.
Minister Panton also clarifies the $5 million withdrawal for the land is separate from the $6 million appropriation from the EPF okay’ed in the budget for land conservation purchases by the National Conservation Council.