Whether the cost of the building permit for the new Prescott and Russell Residence will be waived, reduced or charged at full price by the Town of Hawkesbury remains to be seen. The Town of Hawkesbury and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) will be continuing discussions.
According to Hawkesbury Mayor Paula Assaly, the UCPR sent a request to the town asking for consideration on waiving or reducing the building permit fees for the facility, which is to be located on Spence Avenue. However, the town wants the UCPR to make a formal permit application and include plans for the building. But the UCPR will not have those plans for another eight months.
Assaly said Hawkesbury will have to use other tools and discussions in order to arrive at an estimate.
Hawkesbury council has not yet had the opportunity to decide if the permit cost to the UCPR should be zero, emphasized Assaly.
“I think the council should send a clear message of where we stand on the building permit issue,” said UCPR Warden Pierre Leroux at the January 15 UCPR Committee of the Whole meeting.
At the meeting, Assaly said she wants the collaboration to continue between the town and the UCPR on the subject. She was confident that a consensus can be reached and wants to help council in Hawkesbury arrive at a decision.
“We’re in the same boat,” said Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjardins, regarding building permits for future redevelopment of the Centre d’accueil Roger-Séguin, a long-term care facility located in the city.
“I understand the position in Hawkesbury, it’s not an easy position,” said La Nation Mayor François St-Amour.
He commented that the initial intentions of UCPR were not that clear regarding what the permit cost should be and that La Nation negotiates permit costs with major projects.
“It’s owned by the people, it’s a community residence,” emphasized St-Amour, noting it is a public facility for the benefit of all residents. He added that there was previous pressure to move the residence from Hawkesbury to a more central location in the counties.
“My expectations would be zero costs of the building permit,” St-Amour stated.
Casselman Mayor Daniel Lafleur said his municipality would negotiate permit costs with new developments and noted how the residence benefits all citizens of the county.
Desjardins said the residence has economic development advantages for Hawkesbury.
Chief Administrative Officer Stéphane Parisien suggested the UCPR continue to meet with Hawkesbury on the issue and council agreed.
Following the meeting, Leroux said council would prefer a permit cost of zero because the new residence will have economic benefits for Hawkesbury.