A Tim Hortons is slated to be built next to Vankleek Hill Foodland.

Champlain holds the line on asking developer pay all costs associated with land transfer

At its regular March 12 council meeting, Champlain Township council stayed firm with the idea of asking a developer who wants to build a Tim Hortons pay the legal fees and the $1,000 transfer fee to transfer a one-foot reserve located between 5613 Highway 34 and Stephens Street to Champlain Township.

If the project does not proceed, Champlain Township will reimburse the $1,000 transfer fee to the developer.

The land should have been transferred as part of a subdivision project with Sunrise Valley Realty Limited, which developed a subdivision between 1977 and 1985; the company was dissolved in 2012. But the land in question was not mentioned in the subdivision agreement, according to Champlain Township Clerk Alison Collard. After the company was dissolved, the one-foot reserve was transferred to the Crown.

At the committee of the whole meeting on March 5, when council learned that the developer had offered to pay the legal costs of the transfer, some councillors felt that the developer should cover all of the costs: the legal costs and the $1,000 transfer cost; the latter is payable to the Forfeited Corporate Property Department of the Ministry of Infrastructure Ontario.

West Hawkesbury ward councillor Sarah Bigelow had proposed that the township should reimburse the $1,000 transfer cost if the project did not proceed. But she believes that the township should have picked up all of the costs associated with the land transfer, saying that it is good business for the township.

When the recommendation from the committee of the whole meeting came up for discussion at the regular March 12 council meeting, Bigelow proposed again that the township pick up all of the costs. Although there was a seconder for the motion, it was defeated.

Council has opted instead to stay with its original plan. The developer will be expected to pay legal costs and the transfer costs of $1,000 to transfer the property from the Crown to the township.

Because the proposed Tim Hortons would be located on the west side of Highway 34, next to Foodland, a connection to Vankleek Hill’s water and sanitary sewer is being proposed via an under-the-highway connection, passing through the strip of land along Highway 34, then through private property to Stephens Street in the subdivision. The Tim Hortons property is in the West Hawkesbury ward of Champlain Township and there is no service connection there.

Note that committee of the whole meetings include all councillors and replace committee meetings, which used to, for example, involve one or two councillors on the water and sewage committee, or on the economic development committee. Now, if needed, all matters are discussed among all councillors at committee of the whole meetings. Recommendations by the committee of the whole are then brought to council for further discussion, approval or changes.

Champlain Township regular council meetings take place the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Champlain Township’s council chambers at 948 Pleasant Corner Road. The next tentatively-scheduled committee of the whole meeting is April 2 at 7 p.m. A regular council meeting will take place on April 9, 2019.

Note that The Review’s original story on this issue had the legal costs and the land transfer cost information reversed. And the original recommendation from the committee of the whole was, indeed, to have the developer pick up all of the costs related to the one-foot reserve.

The Review apologizes for the mix-up.

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Louise Sproule

Louise Sproule has been the publisher of The Review since 1992. A part-time job after high school at The Review got Sproule hooked on community newspapers and all that they represent. She loves to write, has covered every kind of event you can think of, loves to organize community events and loves her small town and taking photographs across the region. She dreams of writing a book one day so she can finally tell all of the town's secrets! She must be stopped! Keep subscribing to The Review . . . or else!

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