Even with a COVID lockdown on the horizon, 2020 ended on a high note for West Nipissing as town council finally found something to agree on at a specially called closed meeting on December 23rd. Council unanimously approved the purchase of approximately 28 acres of land from Weyerhaeuser, the former mill owner in Sturgeon Falls. The purchase was hailed as good news by Mayor Joanne Savage, CAO Jay Barbeau, and the person responsible for breathing new life into the endeavour, local entrepreneur Stuart Seville.
Seville took up the cause in September of 2020, eyeing the centrally-located land for community development. “I’m extremely happy; it’s a very positive step forward for this community. We can grow on this for the next 5 to 10 years. [There will be] a lot of money invested into these 27 to 28 acres and it’s going to change the shape of our community.”
The deal was closed on December 30th with Mayor Savage and CAO Barbeau signing off after 20 years of negotiation and stalemate. It was sitting on the backburner until Seville turned up the flame. He contacted Weyerhaeuser himself and discovered that the corporation would be willing to sell for assessed value rather than market value, and proceeded to put it in the hands of the town. The final deal settled the property for $156K, including an acre (approx.) on the south side of Hwy 17 adjacent to the information centre – commercially zoned property.
Seville related his early conversations with Samantha Turner, the negotiating executive with Weyerhaeuser. “They seemed to go for the assessed value rather than market – and the assessed value was only $100K give or take… Samantha told me that [they would give the other lot for the additional $56K) – that alone is worth $100K. They wanted to get out.” He added that the company also wanted everyone at the municipality on board.