The Blue Mountains council has voted to close and sell a portion of the Wellington Street North road allowance in Thornbury.
Council at its committee of the whole meeting on June 27 voted to declare a portion of the Wellington Street North road allowance surplus to the town’s needs and instructed staff to take steps to sell the property.
The property abuts 151 and 165 Bay Street East. The intention is that the property will be appraised as a building lot and the neighbouring property owners will have the opportunity to purchase the land in whole or in part. If the neighbours are not interested, the issue will return to council for further consideration.
Staff reported to council that one of the neighbouring property owners currently accesses their garage from a laneway located on a portion of the road allowance property.
“This should be appraised as a building lot, it would have lower value as a lot addition,” said Mayor Alar Soever.
In the resolution, council also delegated authority to senior staff to complete the sale transaction in case The Blue Mountains is in a lame duck situation after nominations for the municipal election close on August 19. A lame duck council does not have the authority to sell property valued in excess of $50,000 and must provide authorization to senior management ahead of time.
The discussion on the issue took several twists and turns as members of council asked questions about what would happen if neither neighbouring property owner was interested in purchasing the land, or if one neighbour was interested and the other was not.
“We’re trying to plan this chess game out too far. If neither wants to purchase, it comes back to council for consideration,” said Coun. Rob Sampson.
If the sale of the land is completed, most of the Wellington Street North road allowance will have been closed and sold. The town continues to own the portion from Bay Street to the waterfront.
Coun. Paula Hope was the lone dissenting voice on the matter and voted against the resolution. Hope said she felt the presence of the laneway belonging to 151 Bay Street on the road allowance implied that property should get the first right to purchase the land from the town.
“It implies the use of that road allowance,” said Hope. “I see an implied promise by the town.”
However, Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon pointed out that the laneway issue would be settled, noting that at the very least the owner of 151 Bay Street would get the opportunity to purchase 50 per cent of the town property.
“No matter what, the driveway will be accommodated,” he said.