Tehkummah receives back taxes on seized Michael’s Bay properties

TEHKUMMAH— Members of the Township of Tehkummah council are probably in pretty good spirits these days with the news that the municipality has received the $252,000 in back taxes owed for the Michael’s Bay properties seized by the federal government on behalf of the Kingdom of Belgium.

The good news for Tehkummah follows relatively hard on the heels of word received earlier this summer by Central Manitoulin that they were to receive the $57,000 in back taxes owed on properties seized by the federal government as part of the same proceeds of crime seizure.

The Michael’s Bay properties, and those located in Central Manitoulin, had been seized by the federal government at the behest of the Kingdom of Belgium following charges laid against the property owners Claire and Walter Vandroemme of Belgium involving the trafficking of illegal animal steroids in Belgium.

Officials at Public Works Canada have indicated that, following settlement of issues raised by a local First Nation, the properties will be listed for sale through the Multiple Listing Service and open to bids from potential buyers.

At least one developer has expressed interest in the property and placed an offer that was accepted by the previous owners, but the properties were evidently seized prior to that offer being completed.

The federal government has indicated to both municipalities that payments in lieu of the property taxes going forward would also be forthcoming until the disposition of the properties is finalized.

Part of the negotiations with Central Manitoulin included a reduction in the amount of interest being charged on the outstanding taxes on the properties in question. Tehkummah Reeve Eric Russel was unavailable for comment as of press time Monday and the municipal staff were unwilling to release details of the settlement prior to discussing the information with the reeve.