Central Manitoulin mayor clarifies Wagg’s parkland sale

MINDEMOYA—Central Manitoulin Mayor Richard Stephens explained what happened regarding the municipality selling a small portion of the Wagg’s parkland property and clarified some rumours that have been circulating due to the action taken by the municipality.

In an interview with the Recorder late last week, Mayor Stephens explained, “concerning the Wagg’s Parkland and what has happened: in the old days the (Wagg) family owned a 100 acre lot and they sold off the southern part of the property to the neighbouring Taylor family. That left 50 acres of the north portion of the property that fronts out onto Highway 542.”

“That north lot was then subdivided, where the veterinarian’s business is now, and used to be a former dentist’s home and office,” explained Mayor Stephens. “And a piece of  property was severed off for Roy Cooper’s garage, which later became part of Manitoulin Chrysler. Then in the 1990s the two remaining (Wagg family) sisters and the estate of a third sister sold this property to the municipality. They thought and insisted the property be sold and used as a park, but we did research on the property and there was nothing on the deed or the buy sell agreement that it would have to be used as a park.”

However, “as Manitoulin Chrysler is growing they approached us (municipality) about a piece of property that abuts their house and garages directly south of them, two lots, which makes up one and a half acres,” said Mayor Stephens. “When word got out Manitoulin Chrysler had purchased this property, the veterinary clinic wanted to do the same and expand so they purchased one acre on the Wagg’s Park lot. These two small pieces of property were sold to accommodate local businesses. It still leaves over 40 acres of property for parkland.”

“As a municipality we are providing green spaces, and helping local entrepreneurs, and we feel we have done both,” continued Mayor Stephens. “There would never have been an attempt to use this for anything other than a park except we had businesses that needed to grow and needed a small amount of property. We feel it is a benefit to both parties.”

Mayor Stephens said, “I’ve talked to members of the Wagg family; we didn’t understand that the feeling on their part was that we were limited on what could be done with the property. There was nothing in the agreement that there were special conditions on the property,” he said, indicating that, “we’ve had some concerned calls from family members and members of the community.”