Peter Daniel, Aquattro developer, defaulted on Academy Gardens lease with Provincial Capital Commission at Saint Anne’s Academy

Socreds’ favoured developer du jour


Peter Daniel is in trouble again.

If that name is familiar, it is because Mr. Daniel is a developer who was notorious in the late eighties and early nineties for an outrageous plan to turn Victoria’s nationally- and provincially-designated historic site called  Saint Anne’s Academy into a tacky tourist trap, with the help of the privatization schemes of the then Socred governments of Premiers William Van der Zalm and Rita Johnston

Darron Kloster writes in the February 16  Victoria Times Colonist front page story entitled ‘Lenders cut funding for $350-million Aquattro’ that Mr. Daniel’s current Aquattro project in Colwood is having financial difficulties.

But for reasons known only to Mr. Kloster and his editor, there is strangely no mention of the financial trouble that plagued the developer about two decades ago in Victoria.

Peter Daniel was the principle investor and spokesman for Academy Gardens Corporation (AGC) which had a 70 year lease with the Provincial Capital Commission (PCC) to gut the old convent and turn it into a multi-themed tourist garden attraction, complete with more than 7oo licensed seats, and inadequate parking.

It would have been Victoria’s very own tacky ‘Fantasy Gardens,’ what with Chinese, Italian, French and English gardens enjoyable only by paid admission; escalators and a pseduo-Dickensian street-scape inside the gutted convent.

After facing a number of protracted lawsuits from the Greater Victoria Concerned Citizens’ Association and the Saint Anne’s Rescue Community Coalition, the PCC finally had to admit that AGC had defaulted on its lease.

Constant harrassment by the two groups in the courts over many years likely discouraged his bankers from loaning him the money needed to finish the project, and this history should have been well known to the newspaper.

Now that Peter Daniel is in serious trouble again, does the Times Colonist not have an ethical responsibility to inform the public of Mr. Daniel’s most infamous development before the Aquattro debacle?

Or are they compromised or somehow otherwise inhibited from doing so because they ran expensive full colour display ads for Mr. Daniel, one wonders.

I must confess that when I first saw and recognized that Mr. Daniel’s well-known person was used in the photos appearing in the series of ads selling condo and townhouse space for the huge Aquattro project, I thought the ad concept risky, particularly in this Victoria market.

Usually ads of this nature feature supposedly happy and fabulously hip yet anonymous young or retiring model couples looking into a bright future of real estate investment and groovy futuristic living, not some balding old moustachioed man who is notorious for getting in way over his head with a grandiose  and inappropriate scheme…

Perhaps that’s what Mr. Daniel’s plans for Colwood are, and the bankers are finally realizing it…

Maybe Mr. Daniel needs to get a new publicity team together…


– ‘Goyo de la Rosa’ 


One Response to Peter Daniel, Aquattro developer, defaulted on Academy Gardens lease with Provincial Capital Commission at Saint Anne’s Academy

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