‘Ludicrous and short-sighted’: Perthmore Corridor will remain property of the Town of Perth

Photo credit: Town of Perth document.
Posted on: January 17, 2024

Motion to sell the easement was defeated at committee of the whole


The Town of Perth was ready to sell the easement known as the Perthmore Corridor to adjacent property owners – but that motion was stopped when it came time for a vote. 

That was a recommendation to the Perth committee of the whole on Jan. 16, but the vote ended in a three-all deadlock. Because of the tie vote the motion was defeated. 

Coun. Jim Boldt said the option to sell the lands had been discussed early on to try and mitigate any future issues with this corridor. Residents along the corridor wanted it closed because others had been using it for a walking patch which caused stress for those homeowners. It became a hot topic for council to decide what to do with the easement. 

“If not all the adjacent landowners want to go forward because of the cost, or for whatever reason, where does that leave us? Do we sell that land to someone else? Do we retain it?” Boldt asked.  

Susan Beckel, director of legislative service/clerk, said that if the property were divided each person on either side could potentially get the parcel that is adjacent to their homes,” she said. If the first person didn’t wish to purchase it, then it could be offered to the other property owner, or it could remain town owned.

“Given the nature of the property and what use it would be, that’s a decision that council would have to make,” Beckel said. “They’re not obligated to sell it to adjacent property owners, but that is an option that is presented.”

Boldt said he’d received numerous emails on both sides of this issue.

“One proponent who is affected by this has the option if we go ahead with this, to purchase the land (they were) pretty devastated by the fact that they would have to pay so much money for a small chunk of land that was useless to anybody else,” Boldt said. “Have we determined what the cost of these parcels of land will be?”

Beckel said the price of the land hasn’t been determined but legal and survey costs “would be worn by the purchaser.”

The first step in the process would be to have the property surveyed, she added, if that’s how council wishes to proceed. 

If they get into the process, Boldt asked if they could rescind the option sell the parcels of land if the prices become too much.

When it came time to vote on the motion, three councillors were in favour to move forward, while three were not. Councillors David Bird, Isabel Anne McRae and Gary Waterfield voted against the motion. Deputy Reeve Ed McPherson, Boldt and Barry Smith voted for it. Mayor Judy Brown was absent from the meeting, but in the past, she has declared a conflict for this issue. 

When reached for a comment about council’s decision, Ray Hook, who has been a proponent of keeping the corridor closed, said he was “gobsmacked,” as there would be no cost to the town if the land was sold. 

“I think it’s ludicrous, and short-sighted,” he said. “I would hate to say, even cowardly, and ill-informed of the council to not even realize it was limited or no cost to them. They (council) are trying to please everybody and pleasing nobody.”

He said of the seven landowners, six of them would like to purchase the land, and they told council last year of their hope. “We can’t do anything with it,” he said. “Just knowing that it’s ours and that it cannot be changed by another council down the road; that’s the fear.”

If the property is assessed at an “astronomical” amount, Hook said they could dispute that. He said he felt the cost wouldn’t be much more than $1,000 (plus legal and survey fees) and split between the six landowners who wanted to purchase it, the cost “would be peanuts.”

Council voted last March to close the corridor as it was being used as a walking path. 

Michael Touw, the town’s chief administrative officer said as for what’s next, “the answer is, ‘nothing.’ It will remain status quo.”

The easement/corridor is still closed, Touw said, “and ownership will remain in the hands of the town.”

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News