TBM drops $3.45M on west-end property

·3 min read

The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) is in the process of purchasing a 13.2-hectare (32 acres) parcel of land in Thornbury for $3.45 million, but the future use of the property has yet to be determined.

“This piece of property, in the long run, we will be glad that we have it and that it hasn't gone into housing development. This is a real gateway to our community at this end of town,” said TBM Deputy Mayor Rob Potter.

TBM town council gave its nod of approval for the purchase of 125 Peel Street in Thornbury at a council meeting held Monday afternoon.

“This is the property that basically fronts Grey Road 113, Peel Street and Highway 26,” explained CAO Shawn Everitt.

The property consists of two lots – a 10.8-hectare lot that has historically been used as farmland and a second 1.39-hectare lot that hosts a residence that is attached to the farming operation.

Town staff said the purchase of the property provides an opportunity for a significant investment of facilities and infrastructure – the likes of which are yet to be determined.

“This provides the town, and the community, the ability to have a real strong say in the development along the Highway 26 corridor,” said Everitt.

Currently, the town has not made any decisions on the future use of the land. The lots are currently zoned as Special Agricultural and do not have any limitations.

“We don't know what the outcome of the property will be, but it's not just a matter of acquiring land. It's part of a plan as we look forward into the future with our growing population,” said Councillor Peter Bordignon. “Regardless of what the outcome of this property is, this is a purchase for the residents of TBM.”

The town plans to approach the current land tenant with the proposition of continuing to lease the property until it is in a position to begin development.

“It is in the secondary planning area, so this does give us some time to consider what the potential use would be,” Everitt said.

A number of possible options for the land were suggested in the staff report to council, which included:

In preparation for the purchase, town staff secured a third-party land appraisal, which provided support to purchase the lands at the negotiated and recommended purchase price.

According to Everitt, the purchase of the land will be financed by debt. However, he added that once the facility’s future use has been determined, there may be other options for funding.

“Our director of finance and senior management team will be looking over the next couple of years to figure out funding sources,” Everitt added.

It was suggested that the site may be an ideal location for a community recreation centre, which will be explored through the town’s Leisure Activities Plan.

If this location were to be pursued as a recreation complex, town staff estimate that the potential construction of a facility would take place over the next eight to 10 years.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca