Council held a special meeting to discuss next steps for the Unimin lands as well as items relating to the relationship between the Museum and the Town.
UNIMIN: For background, the Town of Midland recently entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Unimin Canada Inc. for three parcels of land on Georgian Bay with a total land area of approximately 40 acres. The total acquisition costs as presented by the Town‘s Chief Administrative Officer are $4,300,000 with an ongoing anticipated debt servicing cost of approximately $175,000 per year.
At Mondays colourful meeting, a Waterfront Project Committee of Council was formed. The composition of the Committee generated considerable debate amongst Councillors. This debate resulted in Councillors Charlebois and Pendlebury being added to the team of Mayor McKay and Councillor Canning. The CAO, CFO and Town Planner will round out the Committee.
The Committee’s mandate is to ensure the implementation of the direction of Council, including but not limited to, the creation of public information materials; consultation with senior levels of government for funding or partnering opportunities; consulting with private sector developers, and consultation with potential institutional user groups. The Committee will hold regularly scheduled meetings (advertised) and minutes will be brought forward to Council.
Council also approved holding a Public Open House in September to thank the members of the Waterfront Steering Committee for all of their efforts and assistance in the creation of a Waterfront Master Plan for the Unimin site. This plan can be downloaded at http://town.midland.on.ca/Whats-New/UniminWaterfrontMasterPlan/index.htm where you will find Unimin Waterfront Master Plan link under the announcements heading.
Council approved the notion of looking at interim uses for the Unimin Site to generate potential revenue sources once the lands are transferred into municipal ownership. Coco Paving proposed to use up to 3 acres for aggregate storage purposes from May to November inclusive for the receipt, storage and hauling of aggregate from the site. The total revenue from Coco would be $67,500 + taxes. Council wisely rejected the proposal. The negative impacts of increased trucking on Town streets and the fact that many residents have expressed relief at the removal of the Unimin silica piles from our waterfront were the primary reasons cited for the proposals rejection.
MUSEUM: A 50 / 50 cost sharing proposal for the repair of the roof at the museum was defeated by a 4 to 4 vote. Council then voted 5 to 3 to provide an interest free loan to the museum to be paid back over a mutually agreed period. The Town will offer a two-year extension on the current lease pending the negotiation of a more comprehensive and better-defined arrangement. The current lease apparently consists of a single page document drafted in the 1960s.
The issue of who owns the building and who is responsible for capital costs has now dogged at least two Councils. It’s high time that this relationship and those embodied in other lease arrangements with Midland be reviewed for clarity, consistency and relevance to today’s municipal environment. This speaks to the need for a comprehensive and extensive review of all the relationships that the Town has with its lessees to ensure clarity, consistency and relevance to today’s business environment.
Stewart Strathearn on behalf on Midlandcommunity.ca