CLEARVIEW TWP. – During their first post-Roxodus council meeting since approving the special-event permit and temporary-use bylaw on June 20 with organizers of the failed music festival, Clearview Township council was updated on its options from legal counsel and also heard public complaints on how the whole situation shook down.
“It was not the township’s responsibility, nor was it within the township’s ability to do anything,” said the township's lawyer, Jim McIntosh. “It’s unfortunate the event ended up in the situation it did.”
Late on Friday, MF Live Inc. declared bankruptcy. To read our story on the filing, click here.
As both Clearview Township and Simcoe County signed the special-event permit with Taurus Investments and MF Live, Taurus Investments would be on the hook for municipal costs associated with the festival, which was to be held this past weekend but was cancelled July 3.
Taurus Investments is listed in the MF Live bankruptcy documents as a creditor to the tune of $11 million. The special-event permit with the township was signed by Fab Loranger on behalf of Taurus Investments.
Taurus Investments is the same company that owns the property on the Edenvale Aerodrome land, which is located on Highway 26 between Barrie and Stayner. They are based out of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.
According to the MF Live bankruptcy documents, Clearview Township is listed as a creditor, owed $6,725.53. Since Taurus did not follow through on the festival and there are outstanding debts, the township now has a registration of title on the land.
“There very well could be other liens on that property we’re not aware of,” said Mayor Doug Measures. “If there’s any action on the (Taurus) property, we get paid.”
McIntosh told council Monday night that he sees the agreement signed by the township, the county on behalf of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and Taurus Investments on behalf of MF Live to be solid.
The mayor asked McIntosh what the next steps would be for the township.
“Now that we have most of the invoices compiled, we should put (Taurus) on notice that if the invoices are not paid within 30 days, the township will be taking action,” McIntosh said.
“In addition to that, I would suggest we then take steps immediately to enforce the terms of the agreement through the commencement of a civil action,” he added. “I anticipate it will be months before we get this worked out, but the township should be in a good position in recovering all the costs.”
When asked by an audience member at Clearview council why the township would enter into an agreement with a company that had been known to cancel festivals last minute in the past, Measures responded.
“We are a municipal government. When you approach the counter here, we don’t ask difficult questions. We ask them to fill out forms and follow procedures and municipal regulations. It’s not our policy to do background checking. It’s not in the ability of the staff here to turn people away because of things you Google,” the mayor said.
“We have done everything we can to protect the residents of Clearview, and follow our municipal procedures, but it can’t be helped when business people make decisions that cause... disappointment across the community,” Measures added. “We didn’t do anything wrong, in my opinion. We have to trust the experts that we have experience with.”
In regards to the environmental concerns brought forward by local residents regarding the Edenvale Aerodrome land, Measures explained that the township's hands are tied.
“The proportion of environmentally protected lands that was impacted by their work was very small in comparison to the 400 acres of airport land,” said Measures. “When people say the word ‘clear-cutting,’ that’s very misleading because that’s not what this agreement is about.”
As Transport Canada, a federally regulated entity, oversees all airports nationally, including the Edenvale Aerodrome, individual municipalities are at their mercy when it comes to mandating what can and can’t happen on their land.
“It’s an airport. They can cut trees in an airport at any time without permission. We can do nothing about it,” Measures said. “That’s the difficulty that people who have been complaining about the trees are really faced with. They live next door to an airport that’s federally regulated. This is not a Clearview Township responsibility.
“It’s very frustrating because every airport is in a municipality, but municipalities have no control over what goes on. Neighbours have no impact over what goes on on airport lands. That’s highly frustrating,” he added.