GORE BAY – With the concern that the province could consider moving the provincial jury trials out of the town, under the current pandemic, the Town of Gore Bay’s council has agreed to provide the province with use of the community hall for seven days a week, but will only charge for a five-day daily rate.
Town clerk Stasia Carr reported at a meeting Monday that she had been contacted by a representative of Infrastructure Ontario to assess a suitable location in Gore Bay for court jury trials.
“They are asking for a location rental rate,” Ms. Carr told council. She told council that no commitment has been made at this point from the province as to where the jury trials will take place, and at this point are just gathering information for a decision to be made on a location. The province has requested a rental rate for the use of the Gore Bay community hall from January 2021 to March 2021.
It was pointed out the daily rate for rental of the Gore Bay community hall is $216 per day.
“They’ve (Infrastructure Ontario) asked for space from January to the end of March,” confirmed Ms. Carr, who pointed out the town also has to provide space for the Provincial Offences Act (POA) courts, which are normally held in the town council chambers. “More than likely it would be the same set-up for POA courts. Do we want to offer the hall rental rate at a discount (to ensure trials remain in Gore Bay)?” she asked council.
Council was told that the rate for January to the end of March would be $18,360, plus HST, based on a rate of $216 per day.
“That seems hefty to me,” stated Councillor Kevin Woestenenk. “I don’t think we want to scare them away.”
“This is something that we don’t want to lose,” stated Mayor Dan Osborne. “We don’t want to lose the courts in town.” He pointed out the province renting the hall for the three months will not mean a financial loss for the town, “because no one is going to be renting the community hall for a stag and doe or other events on weekends (due to COVID-19).”
It was noted the courts would be using the entire community hall, including the upstairs stage area.
“I don’t think they would refuse what we are asking for,” said Councillor Jack Clark. “I don’t think we need to compete with anyone else. If the government wants to rent, I’m sure they will pay fair rent,” he said, suggesting that council could look at charging the province for five days per week to hold the community hall, instead of a full seven-day weekly rate.
“We can’t rent the hall for other events currently,” said Mayor Osborne.
Council passed a motion indicating that Infrastructure Ontario has requested rental rates for the Gore Bay Community Hall for the use of an alternative location for trial court for the Gore Bay Court House; that council is concerned with trial court proceedings moving off-Island and want to ensure that court trials remain in Gore Bay; that the Town must also provide a suitable space for proceedings for provincial offences to hold court. Therefore, be it resolved that Gore Bay council approve the rental of the Gore Bay Community hall from January 1, 2021, to March 31, 2021, at a reduced weekly rate of $1,080 plus HST with the understanding that the hall is available for the POA court to use on the days they require the space for court. Further, when a scheduling conflict occurs with the POA court, that Infrastructure Ontario provides a suitable alternative space within the court house located at 27 Phipps Street, Gore Bay, for the POA court to use.”