CARTER BAY—The 6,400 acres on the south shore of Manitoulin known as the Carter Bay Eco Development is for sale, listed for $3,750,000 by CBRE, a commercial real estate company, through a power of sale.
A description of the property on the website reads, “Carter Bay Eco Development 6,400 acres (+/-) including 17 kilometers of water frontage along Manitoulin Island’s southern shore. Shoreline is some of the best beach frontage on Manitoulin Island (and Georgian Bay as a whole) and is a combination of smooth limestone rocks and fine beach sand. Property is slotted as future development and currently has over 2,100 legal descriptions. Some various individual lots within the development have already sold. Price is $617 per acre. All information not warranted and to be verified by buyer. Property being sold as is, where is.”
This property does not include Royal Michael’s Bay, formerly a part of the eco development.
The Expositor has yet to learn who holds the mortgage to the property, but has learned through the real estate agent in charge of the property, Bryan VanAcker, that a “handful” of companies own the development.
The property is listed as one lot, but what the listing fails to explain to the potential buyer is the lack of ability to build on the property.
Elva Carter of the Manitoulin Planning Board noted that there are numerous, small lots throughout the Carter Bay property that have been sold to individuals over the years. These can be seen on an image of the acreage on the CBRE website as the lots marked in red.
Many of these lots were a result of the ‘checkerboarding’ of the properties through the previous owners, also companies, as a way to circumvent the 1970 subdivision controls, Ms. Carter explained. “Companies would put a plan forward then checkerboard it. As long as you don’t own the abutting land, you can sell it.” The subdivision at Little Lake Huron is another such example.
Technically, since different companies owned the lots, sales were fair game.
“What Arend’s (VanVierzen, Carter Bay developer) been doing is selling lots, and then the buyer would find out he couldn’t build,” she noted. “The Manitoulin Official Plan was approved in 1979, but because of the checkerboard, the property was placed under a development zone which meant no building until certain criteria could be met.”
These criteria included communal sewer and water, but because the lots were so small, some too small for even a septic tank, the conversation has never gone further, Ms. Carter said. “They continued to flog the lots to unknowing buyers.”
“I’ve been with the Planning Board since 1982 and seen Carter Bay go through different companies, but nothing’s really changed,” she added, noting that Jerry Janik was heading the Carter Bay development when she first began at the Planning Board.
The Expositor reached Mr. Janik and learned that neither he nor his family has any involvement with the property.
“I don’t have any financial interest in it at all,” he said.
Ms. Carter said one of the sold lots is currently in a tax sale through the municipality of Central Manitoulin, the owner of which lives in Ireland. “They live all over the world and this makes it very difficult to gather people together to have a proper meeting about the development,” she said. “It’s very sad.”
Mr. VanAcker said the listing is being advertised through Multiple Listing Service (MLS), LoopNet (a commercial real estate site) and by direct marketing to commercial brokerages.
“We’ve had the listing since the end of January,” the real estate agent told The Expositor, “and we’ve had good response from within Ontario (specifically London, Kitchener and Toronto).”
“We have groups that are taking a serious look,” Mr. VanAcker continued. “We’re getting close.”
Former Carter Bay developer Arend VanVierzen recently moved from Manitoulin to Germany, also giving up his post as Tehkummah Councillor.