Central Manitoulin tells Biosphere it needs to retain ownership of Wagg’s Wood

Wagg’s Wood could become the property of the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy.

MINDEMOYA – The municipality of Central Manitoulin has informed the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC) that it will not be transferring the Wagg’s Wood property to the EBC as it needs to retain its ownership of the property, specifically relating to a stream located on the land and had instead proposed a long term lease or development agreement.

“Council looked at the entire issue and the big kicker is that council needed to retain ownership of the property to be able to alleviate flooding from a stream on the property,” said Richard Stephens, mayor of Central Manitoulin. “We need to have access to the stream to keep debris out of the stream and keep it clean so that it will not flood and acts as a conduit into the town (Mindemoya). The only way we can do this is by maintaining ownership of the property.”

Mayor Stephens noted that council had offered a counterproposal for a long term lease agreement of 99 years or development agreement, however the EBC had rejected the that proposal, indicating they “never enter into a lease on lands they develop.”

At a meeting last December the municipal property committee (made up of council members) had voted unanimously in favour, in principle, of transferring the Wagg’s Wood property to the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy, but would seek legal advice before considering the transfer.

When contacted on Tuesday, Bob Barnett of the EBC did not want to comment, but indicated the EBC is still consulting on the issue and decision made by council.