When is a lot not a lot?

Land is worth exactly how much someone is willing to pay for it, but in the city of Whitehorse in the Yukon that may not be the case.

The sale of a 178 square-metre parking lot by the city to the owner of an apartment building, which currently uses the lot, is coming under criticism by city council due to the purchase price of $16,500.

“The thing that caught me off guard was the price,” councilor John Streicker told CBC News. “How did we arrive at ($16,500) for roughly one-third of a lot?”

Pat Ross, planning manager for the city, told council the property was priced by the only independent appraiser in Whitehorse.

He says the price is fair market value because the property is too small to be developed.

The city could also decide to lease the land to the apartment owner or require the owner to remove the improvements, including asphalt paving and power plugs.

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