Last May 300 residents and tax-payers signed a form letter directed to Town Council with the following requests:
1. That the Old School Lands not be sold unless a vote, preferably at the time of the October 2008 Municipal election, clearly demonstrates that a majority of the Town’s citizens wishes this public land to be sold;
2. That before any proposed sale or development of the Old School Lands, the Town will make public all projected financial benefits and expenses including costs of all infrastructure, maintenance, and services, and also provide an estimate of the projected cost to individual taxpayers; and,
3. That any development proposed for the Old School Lands be considered only in the context of an overall vision for development in the Town of Mahone Bay and after fully consulting with stakeholders (including nearby property owners).
On September 9, Council passed a motion directing the CAO to negotiate an Agreement of Purchase and Sale with M.A.D.E. FOR MAHONE BAY LIMITED for the sale of the Old School Lands and that the agreement “shall consider the following issues”:
1. The need to finalize a lease with Nova Learning and the South Shore Regional
School Board in respect to community use of the playing fields at Bayview School;
2. The need to have a second appraisal to help establish the Fair Market Value of the Old School lands;
3. The need to complete a survey and signed easement from the Mahone Bay Centre Society for emergency vehicles access form School Street across the Mahone Bay Centre Society property to the Old School lands;
4. The need to protect the future interest of the Town including time lines for the development and responsibility for various costs.
On October 18th a new Council was elected with five incumbent councillors plus the mayor returning, and one new councillor. At the November 13th meeting, the new Council received a progress report from the CAO concerning the Old School Lands with the following points of information:
1. A lease between the Town and Nova Learning is in process of being finalized.
2. A second appraisal of the Old School Lands has been done. ( No information is yet available to the public.)
3. A survey has been completed for the easement across the Mahone Bay Centre property.
4. The developer held a public information session showing details of a revised, down-sized plan for the Old School Lands.
The CAO’s report did not address the fourth condition (the need to protect the future interest of the Town including time lines for the development and responsibility for various costs) nor was there any mention of the specific requests made in the “Press Pause” letter sent to Council in May.
It is anticipated that the issue of the Old School Lands will be on the agenda at the next Council meeting November 27, 7:00 PM. It appears that a negotiated sale of land to the developer, Bob Youden, is imminent. If you wish to express your views to the mayor or councillors, now is the time.
For your records, here is an updated list of contact information for council members:
Mayor Joe Feeney 624-8133 CJFeeney@ns.sympatico.ca
Deputy Mayor Dave Devenne 624-0117 firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor John Bain 624-1265 email@example.com
Councillor David Hennigar 624-8559 firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Karl Nauss email@example.com
Councillor Lila O’Connor 624-9293 no email
Councillor Virginia Uhlman 624-9363 (contact Town Hall for address)
CAO Jim Wentzell 624-8327 firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: If you wish to receive council agendas by email in advance of meetings, contact Crystal Berringer at Town Hall email@example.com
This is also an opportunity to let you know that the Town’s new Sustainability Committee has started its important and hopeful work with Pam Birdsall as Chair. This committee will involve a cross-section of townspeople in planning for our Town’s future.
FYI, the Promagica website which posted many town documents has been “turned off” for the time being. Meanwhile, a committee is developing a website for the Town with a target date of April 1st to be online. This site will likely include many Town documents such as Council and Committee minutes so citizens can be well-informed..