Central council to meet with local group to discuss Wagg’s Wood options

MINDEMOYA—Central Manitoulin council will be inviting local resident Jan McQuay and a delegation from the Manitoulin Nature Club to attend a property committee meeting to discuss opportunities and options for improvements to Wagg’s Wood in Mindemoya.

“I’ve had discussion with several people who would like to see the park developed,” said Richard Stephens, mayor of Central Manitoulin, at a council meeting last week. He pointed out a lot of concerns have been raised with the municipality selling off a very small portion of the property (two acres) for adjacent business owners use. “I do know there is a lot of local interest in the park and developing it.”

“I think inviting some of the interested parties to a meeting would be a step in the right direction to look at what can be done with the park; and the local groups want to be part of this,” said Mayor Stephens.

The Central Manitoulin property committee had made a recommendation for the meeting of council and the groups, after discussion ensued at a meeting the committee had last week. “We received a letter from Jan McQuay and the Manitoulin Nature Club concerning Wagg’s Wood that were well written and well intended.”

“I found the letters intriguing and (Ms. McQuay’s) letter-proposal has plenty of merit,” said Councillor Alex Baran. “The park is made up of 42 acres and there is the potential if it is developed that it could draw visitors to the area. Could this could end up being our Bridal Veil Falls without water? And it seems the property has quite an escarpment area. If some of the funds raised from the sale of the property lots could directed to some development work of trails for example, that could be work very attractive to tourists and has economic potential.”

However, Councillor Derek Stephens said, “it would take a lot more money to set up trails to make it safe for people that want to use the property and maintain it.”

“Nothing is formal right now,” said Mayor Stephens. “We have received letters from both the Manitoulin Nature Club and Jan McQuay. The last conversation I had with (Ms. McQuay) she said she and the group were prepared to meet with council to develop a plan for better management of the park. Why don’t we invite Ms. McQuay and the Manitoulin Nature Club to a meeting to get their thoughts and ideas on what can be done, and the estimated costs involved, and then we can look at possibly using some of the funds from the sale of a portion of the property for this. These people have an interest in the park and would like to bring forward some ideas.”

Councillor Dale Scott said, “every community should protect green space. This is not to say that we shouldn’t have sold the property we did to local businesses, but green space is important in a community.”

Councillor Scott noted, “I’m not in favour of selling more of the property, but the property we have now has great potential. And this property is right in the centre of town. It’s a beautiful area.”

It was pointed out by Mike Bridgeman that Central Manitoulin Public School is using the park more and more every year for things such as running events.

Council agreed to invite Ms. McQuay and representatives of the Manitoulin Nature Club to a future meeting to discuss ideas and proposed uses for the park.