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Picton Marina draft sub-lease approved

Following lengthy discussion on finer details of environmental aspects, costs and obligations, council approved a draft sub-lease to operate the Picton Marina.

A 9-5 recorded vote sealed the sub lease draft with Tenacity Capital. CEO and founder CJ Thompson had made a deputation at Tuesday’s meeting and answered questions.

Mayor Steve Ferguson urged council to “deal responsibly with the losses we have incurred and get the marina up to the point that it can be the jewel that previous councils, and I think this council, certainly thinks it can be.”

Councillor Andreas Bolik sought a motion to refer the sub-lease back to staff to examine environmental impacts, most importantly, he noted, being carbon dioxide emissions as well as the risk of spills. Councillor Earnie Margetson also supported further clarification stating he would feel more comfortable fully understanding responsibilities of each party regarding the marina’s assets and obligations over the next 10 years. Councillor Brad Nieman sought answers as to how sewer billing would unfold.

Chief Administrative Officer Marcia Wallace estimated a report from staff on the issues could come back to council during the first part of 2021.

Thompson, who has been working with the County to get a marina plan in place for the past four years, is seeking a sub lease prior to incurring expenses related to the project, with plans to have the marina open for next spring. The sub lease agreement would be for five years, at an annual rent of $1 with the right to renegotiate a renewal.

Tenacity will also be required to submit 10 per cent of its revenue annually to the Ministry of Natural Resources, as per the current head lease.

Councillor Phil St-Jean said the sub-lease is win-win, noting the Picton Marina has not been profitable under municipal operation and will save the County $30-70,000 annually.

“We’re not going to have to pay that out. Our taxpayers are not going to have to pay that out. I, for one, think this is the best deal we have ever seen and are ever going to see for this marina,” he said, reminding newer councillors of a failed lease 17 years ago and warning them not to “overmanage this agreement… We do not have the means, drive or money to do it. He’s a local boy and I also support that.”

The County is bound by the MNR lease for the Picton Marina and Harbour until 2033. It may sub-lease as long as the MNR is informed of details. MNR lease terms include that any buildings erected by a tenant or sub-tenant are subject to removal at the expiry of the 25-year leases.

Picton Marina and Harbour currently operate under Open Space zoning, Tenacity Capital has requested that the property be rezoned to Tourism Commercial. Municipal staff agree marina usage better suits this new zoning and are expected to bring forward the rezoning to council later this year.

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