For­mer OPP bldg on sell­ing block

North Bay Nugget - - FRONT PAGE - Gord young

The provin­cial gov­ern­ment is ex­pe­dit­ing the sale of hun­dreds of sur­plus prop­er­ties, in­clud­ing the for­mer On­tario Provin­cial Po­lice dis­trict head­quar­ters on Chippewa Street, to help gen­er­ate rev­enue and cut ex­penses over the next four years.

The for­mer OPP build­ing in North Bay served as the back­drop for the an­nounce­ment Fri­day by Nipiss­ing MPP Vic Fedeli, On­tario’s Fi­nance min­is­ter.

“This build­ing will be put up for sale im­me­di­ately. It will be sold, hope­fully, in the $800,000 range,” said Fedeli, who noted the build­ing has sat va­cant for a decade, all the while cost­ing tax­pay­ers ap­prox­i­mately $110,000 an­nu­ally to main­tain.

“So, we’ve spent over $1 mil­lion of tax­pay­ers’ money to keep this build­ing empty for 10 years. We feel this isn’t re­spect­ful use of peo­ple’s hard-earned money and it’s cer­tainly not a smart use of gov­ern­ment as­sets.”

The gov­ern­ment says its new stream­lined process for sell­ing sur­plus prop­er­ties will re­move 150 days of ad­min­is­tra­tive time, generating an es­ti­mated $105 mil­lion to $135 mil­lion in rev­enue over four years while also sav­ing an es­ti­mated $9.6 mil­lion an­nu­ally in li­a­bil­i­ties and on­go­ing main­te­nance costs.

The gov­ern­ment says the plan also in­cludes sup­port for some of the prov­ince’s most vul­ner­a­ble.

“We will be iden­ti­fy­ing prop­er­ties within the port­fo­lio that can be re-pur­posed for af­ford­able hous­ing and long-term care spa­ces,” said Fedeli.

He said On­tario has a to­tal of 486 prop­er­ties that are no longer needed to de­liver gov­ern­ment pro­grams. Of those, Fedeli said 243 are im­me­di­ately be­ing put on the mar­ket.

“These prop­er­ties range from ware­houses to of­fice build­ings, to cor­rec­tional fa­cil­i­ties, to empty park­ing lots across the prov­ince,” he said, not­ing the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources build­ing on Trout Lake Road is an­other lo­cal prop­erty that also will even­tu­ally be put up for sale.

“Dis­pos­ing of sur­plus prop­erty also means we are putting close to 14,600 idle acres of real es­tate back into pro­duc­tive use.”

Fedeli said the process aligns with rec­om­men­da­tions in­cluded in the au­di­tor gen­eral’s 2017 re­port. But he agreed it’s rem­i­nis­cent of the ini­tia­tive he rolled as North Bay’s mayor in 2003 to sell off sur­plus lands to boost city re­serves.

“It re­ally is,” said Fedeli, re­call­ing how the coun­cil of the day put 108 prop­er­ties on the mar­ket. “ev­ery one of them now ei­ther has a house on it or a busi­ness on it.”

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