The Blue Mountains councillor Gail Ardiel will chair two town working groups considering a land donation offer made to the town by local residents Tom and Ruth Kritsch.
At its committee of the whole meeting on June 5, council voted to appoint Ardiel the chair of two separate working groups that will work with the Kritschs and town staff on offers to donate separate pieces of land to the community.
The Kritschs made the offers at a council meeting a week earlier. The Kritsch family is offering two separate land donations to the town. On the 10th Line, next to Tomahawk golf course the family has offered to donate 50 acres of a 90-acre property, with a further 39 acres possibly being donated to the town at a later date. The family has also offered the town 25 acres of a 74-acre property on Arthur Taylor Lane (near the OPP office outside of Thornbury), with a further 25 acres possibly being donated in the future.
In response to the offers made a week earlier, council directed CAO Shawn Everitt to expedite a report to establish two working groups to look over the offers. Everitt delivered the report at the meeting with draft terms of reference for the two groups.
The CAO recommended council approve the two land donation offers in principle and then have the working groups go over the finer details.
“We wanted to make sure we were setting ourselves up for success,” he said. “Staff is pretty excited about this opportunity.”
Ardiel will serve on both groups and will be joined by councillors June Porter and Alex Maxwell on the Arthur Taylor Lane property and councillors Shawn McKinlay and Paula Hope on the 10th Line property.
Kritsch attended the meeting and urged council to move forward with the process.
“Time is of the essence,” he said.
After receiving the report, Maxwell suggested council appoint Ardiel to chair both groups “to get this show on the road.”
Other councillors agreed.
“Anything that makes this go faster would be better,” said Porter.
In an interview after the meeting, Ardiel said she was happy to serve in the role of chair of both groups.
“We want to get this one moving really quickly. It’s very positive for the community and I think it will be a good working relationship,” she said. “It’s very generous of the Kritsch family to think about donating these lands to the town.”