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Last night’s meeting was pretty much uneventful with some discussion and debate regarding Item 9.1.3. More on this in the text below. I left about half way through the meeting after the more interesting items had been discussed. I’ll check the minutes and let you know if anything interesting arose after I left. I doubt it. Of course you should tune into Moose-FM today, they will be providing their take on the highlights (and low lights). My comments are offered below, check out the preview post for additional background.

The more interesting items in my opinion are:

5.1 – Deputation, Park to Park (P2P). The deputation was well received by Council and there was an agreement to direct Staff to meet with Park2Park to discuss the options and reality of establishing an ATV trail through Parry Sound.

9.1.3 – Resolution, Proposal Award 71 Parry Sound Road. CARRIED. This resolution requests approval of a proposal in principle to develop 71 Parry Sound Road as it represents ‘Town surplus property’. There was discussion about the price offered by the developer for the property, $40,000 versus the $64,000 real estate broker assessed value. The Mayor pushed it through. He seemed quite determined to make it happen. Council discussed certain protections for the Town concerning the property being ‘held and flipped’ and unexpected costs to the town to develop the property. I guess at least one councillor remembers how the Town was taken to the ‘woodshed’ with the WalMart development.

I think we were hosed down, but it’s not going to kill the Town. I sure wish I would have been doing business with negotiators like Mayor and Council when doing deals. You can smell the desperation. The proposed land sale price of $40,000 amounts to $200 per lot for property cost. There was much mention of the considerable costs to the developer to provide the services. Are they really that much more than the costs to be accrued by an individual who paid $30,000 for a single lot in Parry Sound and needs to pay for connecting to Town services? When you build 200 houses the costs are spread over a much larger base. It’s hard to find circumstances where the cost of land isn’t at least 5% of the total built property cost, suggesting about $10,000 per lot for this project, or more like $2 million for the 23 acres. No, This $2 million is not a reasonable figure to ask but it represents a much better benchmark than the $64,000 assessment from a local real estate agent.

The Town likes to pride itself in not offering financial support for any type of development in Parry Sound. No, they just sell property at below market value, or just give it away. How about the Town charges $1 million for the property, a more reasonable valuation for the land, and then offers the developer $960,000 in tax rebates or direct subsidy? The net cost to the Town is the same but the financial support is much more obvious.

Mention was made that a pumping station might be required to service the new development (pump the poop). There was no formal agreement reached on who would be responsible for the cost (a Walmart type issue?), but it better not be the Town. My sense is that this will be very expensive. All-in-all I would have been happier has Council decided to approve the deal in principle and the $40,000 land price (as they did) with the proviso that the Town be responsible for no, zero, zilch, costs to provide infrastructure for the development. But it was left as an open issue. Did I mentiong that the Mayor wanted this deal to happen at the terms presented to Council?

9.4.1 – Resolution, Columbaria Reserve. I left before this issue was discussed and I expect it was passed.

9.5.1 – Resolution, Bay Street Retaining Wall. I left before this issue was discussed and I expect it was passed.

9.5.2 – Resolution, Forest Street Reconstruction. CARRIED. The Town is being asked to award a contract for $3,311,050 to Fowler Construction for the Forest Street rebuild. The province is covering 90% of the expense up to $2 million, so we are on the hook for about $1.3 million.

10.4.1 – By-law, Downtown Business Association (DBA) levy. Once again I wasn’t there to watch the discussion and outcome, I suspect it passed. I understand that about $8,000 was previously approved by the DBA for the Market Square project. But if it was it didn’t make it to the budget presented in the agenda package. Either the DBA is running two sets of budgets or they have effectively made the decision to not go forward. Apparently the users committee will be presenting their recommendation on Market Square Park to the Downtown Business Association next Wednesday. It’s dead, and all that’s left is to manage the optics for Council and the DBA.

The minutes of the meeting will be out by Friday a the latest at the Town’s website.

No Admittance – No Kidding! (Parry Sound in Black & White)