MINDEMOYA – The issue of the A.J. Wagg Memorial Park appeared once again on Central Manitoulin’s Finance and Economic Development Committee agenda, this time with a positive outcome for those residents hoping to see it kept as a park.
Jan McQuay and Nature Club president Marcel Beneteau, who had wanted the Mindemoya property given to the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC), had written letters to council on this issue.
The EBC seeks to create nature reserves in Ontario allowing for sustainable low impact recreation. The Ontario Biodiversity Initiative (OBI) calls for the protection of 17 percent of the province’s land by 2020. One focus of the EBC is the Niagara Escarpment, which includes Manitoulin Island, it was explained.
Ms. McQuay’s letter began with her saying that she wanted to ensure that council was aware of a few matters concerning the purchase of the property in 1992. The park was one of three property purchases when so-called Pride funding was available to purchase parkland property and it was purchased for $60,000.
“There was no mention,” Ms. McQuay wrote, “of any allocation of municipal funds and no mention of funds to control flooding. I have always maintained that, in 1992, during a recession, it would be unlikely that council would purchase 44 acres to control flooding only in the lower 10 acres or so. Most of the park is above the bluff and it was meant to be a natural park. It should remain a park. If council is hesitant to transfer it to the EBC for protection, there are other ways to ensure that the park is preserved. Perhaps a covenant would work so that future councils would not contemplate selling it Let’s ensure the park is preserved and well maintained to make it the park it can be.”
To this, Councillor Al Tribinevicius asked, “The covenant? How is it made?”
CAO/Clerk Frawley replied, “It would be registered on the deed at the Registry Office. It would say that the land can’t be sold, that one council cannot hamstring another.”
Councillor Scott noted that the park is zoned recreational, but Mayor Stephens reminded council that zoning can be changed with a request to the Planning Board.
Councillor Stephens then said that the zoning could be changed down the road and that he was not in favour of giving the park to the EBC.
Councillor Johnston, agreed saying, “I am not comfortable giving it to EBC. I think a motion should be made for us to keep it.”
In the end, it was recommended to council that the municipality retain ownership of the green space Lot 22, concession 5 in Carnarvon Township, known as Wagg’s Wood.