MINDEMOYA—An Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC) offer to purchase the Mindemoya green space known as Wagg’s Wood is awaiting a list of conditions and concerns of council that is being prepared by CAO/Clerk Ruth Frawley.
A recommendation from the October 9, 2018 Central Manitoulin Property Committee had council support in principle the transfer of the Wagg’s Wood property to the EBC. The concept was deferred at the October 11, 2018 meeting of council over procedural concerns as the property value of $65,000 was estimated to exceed the $50,000 limit for a lame duck council to move to sell. Ms. Frawley had noted at the time that council could discuss the sale, but could not move forward to actually sell the property until after the October 22 election.
Councillor Derek Stephens had raised concerns over whether the municipality could enter into an agreement with a specific group, rather than simply putting the land up for sale, a question that was to be put to the town’s legal counsel.
Mayor Richard Stephens confirmed recently that the question has not yet been answered. “I think we are waiting until we have a formal offer from the EBC before we go forward,” he said, suggesting that the complete package would be a more appropriate matter for consultation.
But the EBC, which has considerable experience in such land transfers, remains undaunted.
“We are absolutely interested in purchasing the property but there are a number of points that the municipal council want clear,” said EBC executive Director Bob Barnett. “They want to be sure that they can clear out the creek to control flooding when necessary, for example. We could cover those concerns with covenants and easements at the point of sale.”
Mr. Barnett said that he had been in communication with Ms. Frawley “a week and a half ago to identify issues so I could put my drafting hat on.” The EBC executive director said that his organization was happy to do what they could to conserve the space, going on to assure that “(Wagg’s Wood) won’t be sold off by us.”
“We are basically just waiting for Ruth to get back to us,” he said.