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2022 NEWSMAKERS: Grey Highlands sells Talisman lands

No formal submission has been made regarding future development on the property, and it's anticipated to continue to be a council item through 2023 and beyond
Talisman former golf course
The former Talisman Mountain Resort golf course.

There are still many chapters to be written before the final story of the former Talisman Mountain Resort property is told.

The 2022 portion of the story began with the sale of two of three properties that made up the old resort.

Early in the year, the Municipality of Grey Highlands announced the sale of two of the former Talisman properties to Westway Capital - a Toronto-based investment firm. The properties that were sold are known as upper Talisman and lower Talisman, and does not include the property containing the former hotel and related buildings.

This past year saw the sale process completed and the upper and lower portions of the property transferred to the new owners. By the end of the year, the new owners had held a number of public consultations about the future of the property.

Below is a timeline of the major Talisman-related events of 2022:

Feb. 2, 2022 - Grey Highlands announces sale agreement

Grey Highland council passes a bylaw finalizing the sale of the upper and lower portions of Talisman to Westway Capital for $2.5 million.

The two pieces of property total 134 acres, with one being the home to the former Talisman golf course and a portion of the Beaver River.

There is considerable public opposition to the sale of the lands and the municipality received a second offer of $2.775 million from the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy, however, the municipality did not pursue that option.

A number of speakers at the meeting object to the sale and criticize council for the decision.

Members of council stayed the course on the decision to proceed with the sale to Westway.

“I'm making decisions based on what I think is best for the municipality,” said Coun. Paul Allen during the February meeting. “I’ve lived in Grey Highlands for 49 years … I'm not going to make decisions that I think will deter people … from staying in Grey Highlands or coming back to Grey Highlands.”

May 17, 2022 - council accelerates the sale of the lands

Grey Highlands council unanimously votes to accelerate the closing date for the sale of the lands.

Council acts on a staff recommendation to speed up the closing date, as the sale process is nearing completion.

“At this point, the land is sold. The deal was made. The folks at Westway are anxious to get started with the public consultation and talking about their ideas,” said CAO Karen Govan.

Council again faces intense public criticism for the decision.

June 9, 2022 - sale of the lands is completed

The Municipality of Grey Highlands and Westway Capital officially complete the sale of the properties.

With the sale complete, Westway announces it has retained The Planning Partnership to assist with community engagement.

“We are excited to see Westway Capital work to re-develop the lands in a way that recognizes its full potential for our community and for the long-term stability of Grey Highlands,” said Mayor Paul McQueen.

August 3, 2022 - new owners meet with council

Beaver Valley Development Group representatives Paul Mondell and Paul Golini attend a council meeting to talk about the properties.

“It has been quite a journey up to now,” said Mondell. “We are looking to create a very collaborative process. We have no plans. We have no vision to this point. We are very much in the early stages.”

“I’m here to listen and find out what is important to all stakeholders,” said Golini. “We’re here to fully initiate a new public consultation process.”

At the meeting, Mayor McQueen asks Golini and Mondell about the middle portion of the property, which is under different ownership.

Mondell said the group had met with the owners of that piece of property.

“We are still hopeful we can work together and collaborate in a meaningful way,” said Mondell. “We are still very much engaged in trying to go through that process.”

Dec. 6, 2022 - owners hold public consultation meetings

Beaver Valley Development Group holds two public consultation meetings in Kimberley. A third virtual meeting is held a couple of nights later.

At the sessions, members of the public are able to view high-level concepts for the two properties.

“Our hope and expectation is once we go through the community dialogue that will help inform our design team,” said Mondell. “We have some significant constraints on these lands.”

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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