Is it? Isn’t it? A sur­plus of an­swers

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - NEWS - ALAN S. HALE ahale@post­ twit­

At its meet­ing on Mon­day, city coun­cil shied away from dis­solv­ing its own wa­ter­front land ac­qui­si­tion com­mit­tee, even though by all in­di­ca­tions the com­mit­tee had no pur­pose.

The city was told by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, which owns most of Corn­wall’s wa­ter­front, there were sim­ply no lands to ac­quire. None of the prop­er­ties have been de­clared sur­plus, which is the first step the gov­ern­ment needs to take if it wishes to sell any of them.

Nonethe­less, coun­cil de­cided not to dis­solve the com­mit­tee, hop­ing in­stead to have it take the lead on con­vinc­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to be­gin di­vest­ing it­self of more wa­ter­front lands.

De­spite the as­sur­ances given to the City of Corn­wall, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment doesn’t re­ally seem to know if it in­tends to sell wa­ter­front lands or not.

“Trans­port Canada owns eight prop­er­ties in Corn­wall that are con­sid­ered sur­plus to the op­er­a­tion of the St. Lawrence Se­away.”

This a por­tion of an email sent to the Stan­dard-Freeholder on Wed­nes­day from a Trans­port Canada spokesper­son Julie Ler­oux, af­ter the news­pa­per con­tacted the min­istry try­ing to con­firm the gov­ern­ment had, in fact, told the mu­nic­i­pal­ity there were no sur­plus lands on Corn­wall’s wa­ter­front.

Ler­oux went on to con­firm one of those sur­plus lands is the plot around Ma­rina 200, which is be­ing eyed by C.H. Cle­ment Con­struc­tion as the site of its con­tro­ver­sial con­do­minium de­vel­op­ment.

“Trans­port Canada con­tin­ues to un­der­take the nec­es­sary duedili­gence work to sell the sur­plus prop­er­ties in Corn­wall,” con­cluded Ler­oux.

While this jives with what the gov­ern­ment told the Stan­dard­Free­holder when it first broke the story about C.H. Cle­ment’s in­ten­tions, it com­pletely con­tra­dicts an­other email from an of­fi­cial in a dif­fer­ent part of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

The email, dated Aug. 1, is from Peter Mad­dalena, who is the re­gional man­ager of real es­tate ser­vices for Real Es­tate Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Canada. It reads in part:

“We are in­ter­nally re­view­ing this prop­erty. As noted pre­vi­ously, this prop­erty is not sur­plus at this time. Should it be de­clared sur­plus by the depart­ment, we would fol­low our dis­posal process.”

This email is also re­fer­ring to the land sur­round­ing Ma­rina 200. The dis­posal process men­tioned would re­quire the feds to of­fer the prop­erty for sale to all three lev­els of gov­ern­ment be­fore putting it on the pri­vate real es­tate mar­ket.

So there are two dif­fer­ent fed­eral gov­ern­ment agen­cies, both with re­spon­si­bil­ity over the fu­ture of wa­ter­front lands in Corn­wall say­ing con­tra­dic­tory things.

Mayor Les­lie O’Shaugh­nessy and gen­eral man­ager of plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment Mark Boileau have been say­ing the gov­ern­ment has con­firmed it is not sell­ing any of its wa­ter­front lands.

“The gov­ern­ment has in­di­cated that they have not de­clared those lands as sur­plus,” Boileau told coun­cil on Mon­day night.

He re­peated this to city’s wa­ter­front­com­mit­tee this on Wed­nes­day evening. But when the Stan­dard Free holder showed him the email from Trans­port Canada, Bolieau ad­mit­ted that he didn’t know what to make of it. Think­ing on the spot, Bolieau tried to sug­gest a few ex­pla­na­tions why the gov­ern­ment would be say­ing two dif­fer­ent things, such as per­haps some­thing had changed since early Au­gust.

But re­gard­less of the rea­son, it ap­pears the city can­not say with cer­tainty there are no sur­plus lands on the wa­ter­front or that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment isn’t look­ing to di­vest the prop­erty around Ma­rina 200.

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