Perth council’s committee now in favour of selling Perthmore corridor

Photo credit: Google Maps.
Posted on: May 10, 2024

The Perthmore corridor is back on the market. 

On May 8, during a regular Perth town council’s committee of the whole meeting, it was agreed that the lands would be sold to adjacent landowners after a motion was brought forward by Coun. Isabel Anne McRae.

The town was set to sell the corridor but the motion was defeated at committee of the whole on Jan. 16, 2024

McRae said the council remains committed to active transportation and has committed $135,000 this year toward sidewalks on Treelawn Boulevard, with a focus on safety, accessibility, security and privacy for neighbours, cost, usage and environmental impacts. 

“Unfortunately, not all well intentions come to fruition,” she said. “Every location doesn’t necessarily work.”

The $639,000 in development charges for Perthmore can be used for other roads, McRae added, and this money has been earmarked and committed to create a third entrance to the subdivision off Highway 7 as part of Phase 6 and 7 for Perthmore “which continues to be an ongoing issue and is before the Ontario Land Tribunal.”

She added that there are no available funds to create a pathway and that council made a decision that the utility easement is unsuitable for a pathway. 

“We have a total of six property owners prepared to purchase this utility easement all in the proximity of each other. There are two (who) are not.”

McRae advised that a previous council was advised by their legal team to sell the property.

Coun. David Bird said his first thought was that council made a decision. They’d received a number of options – yes, the pathway option was out. “We settled this by designating this as an easement,” he said. “That was the decision. The process has taken an inordinate amount of time and I, perhaps naively, thought we had made a decision and would stand by it. We are potentially opening this up again. It’s a thin line between being prepared to move and adapt as a situation changes and being indecisive and flipflopping on issues … having said that, if it’s the will of council to revisit this – and it’s not a decision to do it. It’s a decision to instruct staff to give them something else to do in relation to this — I would urge that we get significant legal advice for a long-term position that is enforceable and if it’s not, I will not vote for it.”

Once the property owners have purchased this corridor, then there would be limited ways in which the town could access it if there were storm water issues or other maintenance that needed to be addressed. “At the moment, this is what we can do because it’s an easement,” Bird said. “If it becomes someone else’s private property, I don’t want other councils down the road to have issues, because people said ‘it’s my property and you can’t access it.’”

Coun. Barry Smith said it’s been about six years since they have been trying to address it and he would like to see the pathway remain open. He spoke of a petition received by council that included 132 signatures all in favour of it being an open pathway. 

“Somehow, along the way, five people have pushed their way into our minds in trying to change it … I can’t vote for this. There are too many people out there who want this open and I think we should make every effort to do so.”

Coun. Gary Waterfield, who chaired the meeting, reminded the committee that, although it was a fine line, the motion was about selling land, or keeping it as a municipal property.  

Coun. Jim Boldt agreed with Waterfield. Do they sell the property to adjacent landowners, or not?

“Council did approve closing of the corridor some time ago … we’re not asking to reopen the discussion on the corridor in any way, shape or form.”

To Bird’s point, Boldt asked the chief administrative officer, Michael Touw, if there would be a legal clause in the sale that would allow staff to access the infrastructure in future. 

Touw said there would be a clause that would allow all utility companies access, as “that easement would transfer to the new owners.”

Councillors voted 4-2 in favour of selling the Perthmore corridor with Mayor Judy Brown declaring a conflict. It will return to a future council meeting for final approval.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News