Muskoka To-DAILY

Province turns down Gravenhurst’s second bid for Chinese school; says conditional offer not ‘fair market value for its lands’

Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAILY.com

GRAVENHURST – Gravenhurst’s second offer to obtain the old Muskoka Centre has been turned down by the province.

New conditions offered by the Town of Gravenhurst make a second bid for the Muskoka Centre unacceptable to the province, says IO Minister Bob Chiarelli in a letter to the chamber of commerce.

New conditions offered by the Town of Gravenhurst make a second bid for the Muskoka Centre unacceptable to the province, says IO Minister Bob Chiarelli in a letter to the chamber of commerce.

Infastructure Ontario Minister Bob Chiarelli says the latest offer from Gravenhurst to purchase the former Muskoka Centre on behalf of partners wanting to turn the 70 acres into a Chinese bilingual high school once again does not offer Ontario fair value for taxpayers in part due to new conditions.

In a rare letter for a minister to issue, especially during negotiations, he was responding to a community letter-writing campaign by the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce.

Normally the government doesn’t negotiate through the public, so this letter is both surprising – yet possibly encouraging.

The chamber’s Sandy Lockhart, executive director, sent out this leter in an email to members Tuesday.

Dear Ms. Lockhart:

“Thank you for your letter conveying the interest you and members of your community have expressed in the former Muskoka Regional Centre and the proposed redevelopment opportunity. I apologize for the delay in responding.

You will be pleased to know that the Town of Gravenhurst was given the first opportunity to acquire this property as part of the provincial disposition of land process before it is placed on the open market.

The Town expressed an interest in acquiring the property as a direct sale and Infrastructure Ontario (IO), on behalf of the government, has been working exclusively with the Town on this potential sale since April of 2015.

Over the past two years there have been several meetings between my ministry, Infrastructure Ontario, the Town of Gravenhurst and Maple Leaf Schools representatives.

The initial offer from the Town was for a nominal transfer of the land to them. Under the process that has been established, to ensure that the province receives fair market value for its lands, we were unable to agree to the initial offer.

The Town subsequently submitted a second offer, which contains certain conditions which the province is not in a position to agree to.

There are ongoing discussions taking place between the Town and IO regarding a potential sale.

I would like to assure you IO is committed to working toward a beneficial agreement for all the people of Ontario.

Thank you again for writing.”

Sincerely, Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure

 

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