The City of Kenora is looking to spend just over $3,000 to purchase and acquire 38 small pieces of property throughout the community, which in the future, could later be redeveloped.
The city explains that when the former Western Ontario Lumber Company and stud mill ceased operations and dissolved, 38 small pieces of land that they owned within the city were forfeited to the Ontario government.
The Western Ontario Lumber Company was a former stud mill that operated near the Kenora Rec Centre, which had created and owned a number of subdivisions within the lakeside area. When Kenora amalgamated together, the city says the titles to these properties were likely lost in the shuffle.
The properties are mostly between 7th Street South and 5th Street South in the Lakeside area, as well as near the new Rotary Peace Park. The properties also include right-of-ways on roadways in the downtown core.
The city explains that staff have wanted the lands transferred back to the municipality for many years, given municipal infrastructure resides on the properties and for the access they provide to community assets.
But the city became aware of potential liability issues recently as Enbridge Gas was trying to perform work in the area, but the city was unable to give them permission to move forward. Enbridge then pushed the issue up the chain with the province, helping a potential purchase move forward.
“In refusing to pursue this opportunity, the ownership status of these lands will continue to be a liability concern and impact future project delivery,” stated the city’s report to councillors.
Manager of Development Services, Adam Smith, adds this move will also allow for the future redevelopment of these areas, and for such a low cost of $2 per parcel of land plus costs associated with the transfer, the move is a no-brainer.
City staff have now prepared a contract to purchase those properties from the province for a total of $3,276 plus HST, which will be executed once council members approve the purchase during their June 21 Council meeting at City Hall.