The Mayor of Russell Township would like to emphasize the municipality has been doing its best to reach a solution with the owner of a small brewery in Embrun to ensure the business remains open.
The township owns the building on Notre-Dame Street and rents it to Etienne Brûlé Brewery. However, the township wants to sell the building and has it listed for sale with an asking price of $925,000. Brewery owner Richard Ménard is doubtful he can afford to purchase the building or relocate.
According to a statement from Mayor Pierre Leroux, township staff have been discussing in good faith with the tenant (Ménard) since the beginning of 2020 about different scenarios that could occur when the previous lease ended on December 31, 2020. Leroux emphasized that even though the lease ended, the township has maintained the rent to Ménard significantly below market-rates and accepted the ongoing issue of missed rent payments in hopes of finding a solution.
Leroux explained the township offered multiple options to the tenant, and even offered to trade the building for a portion of approximately 100 acres of land owned by the tenant on St-Guillaume Road near the municipal industrial park.
“Unfortunately, no offers discussed by either party have been acceptable to the other thus far,” stated Leroux.
In its 2022 budget, the township is planning to use revenue from the sale of the brewery property to help considerably reduce the cost of a bridge rehabilitation project.
“Without these funds, it would have necessitated a tax increase,” said Leroux.
The mayor emphasized the municipality is always willing to work with the tenant in finding a solution that is beneficial to both parties, but council does have a responsibility to all businesses and residents, not only one.