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Public to be consulted on surplus municipal land

Council is recommending staff include public consultation on available municipal lands that could be deemed to be surplus.

At today’s committee of the whole meeting, staff also asked for inventory and mapping of unopened road allowance to determine how they can be used for future development, where appropriate.

A report to the meeting, prepared by Grace Nyman, community services and program co-ordinator, noted a 2013 priority of council to inventory vacant and unused properties noting those that could stimulate economic growth or generate revenue to pay down debt or replenish reserves.

The report also stated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the difficulty of physical distancing has added to pre-existing pressures for space within several County departments.

“Prior to review and potential sale of unoccupied or under-occupied buildings/lands, staff will review and analyze municipal holdings to address departmental accommodation pressures and to reduce costs, as part of the report that comes back to council for decision.”

In 2012 there were 300 properties divided into categories of “active, on hold, potential surplus and surplus”. Nyman notes the inventory for 2020 is comparable

They include vacant land, industrial park properties, roads and depots, offices, water and sewer, cemeteries, parks, pits, boat launches, libraries, museums, town halls and fire departments.

She explained the process of declaring municipal property surplus involves municipal review for future use, and review by the PEC Affordable Housing Corporation.

Properties to be deemed surplus would be fowarded to the ward councillors for feedback and extended public feedback.

Road allowances, she explains, are areas of land set aside for future road development by the province, to a municipality, through a statutory process. When such allowances are
“unopened”, they refer to allowances that are set aside, though not yet actually
developed as roads themselves.

“Over the years, many unopened road allowances have been requested by Prince
Edward County residents to add to their property, in order to increase the value to
their land and generate additional taxes for the municipality,” said Nyman in her report.

“Recently staff have been presented with two requests for unopened road allowances
that have led to the conclusion that a comprehensive inventory of these properties should be undertaken in order to understand where these assets are located and decide whether the municipality wishes to dispose of them, or retain them for future
development.”

Staff also requested asking for proposals from local realtors, or others, to represent the County in dealings with land purchases, sales, and opinions of value.

The current realtor of record has served the municipality for more than nine years and that contract has expired.

“Using realtor services reduced the burden on municipal and legal staff and provided consistency to the process of divesting lands,” explains Nyman. “It also ensured value for taxpayer dollars by providing efficient and timely marketing and transactions, as
well as ensuring that municipal land assets are being utilized most effectively.”

Filed Under: Local News

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