Meeting held February 21, 2023
Cache Bay Trailer park to be sold
By a show of six hands, West Nipissing council decided to sell the Cache Bay Tent & Trailer Park at the February 21 council meeting. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided the municipality was not doing so well in the trailer park business, that the swimming pool had decayed beyond redemption during the pandemic, that the costs of repair and maintenance to the taxpayer did not justify the return, that the park served a very limited population at considerable public expense, and the sale of the land would create a new taxpayer, adding money to the coffers rather than being an expense.
Staff was directed to come back with a resolution at the next meeting that would include holding off the sale for one more season and putting out an RFP to find someone to operate the site for 2023. Council was also advised that the land up for sale does not include the protected wetland.
There were questions about financing an environmental assessment, and any stipulations concerning terms of sale, such as maintaining the site as a trailer park or selling as a housing development. CAO Jay Barbeau told council, “If you’re starting to add additional information where it becomes a nice 40 home development because you’ve given them an environmental assessment, then you can guarantee that the more you give that kind of information, the more other uses could come into play… We could bring back those kind of strategic points to discuss.”
Stephan Poulin, manager of Economic Development, added, “There’s another option the Council could look at, if we get a buyer coming in… which is to expand on the trailer park. There’s land going east to it that is not affected by the protected wetland. …They could potentially request Council to expand that park and we would have some land to offer, if that would be the case, as long as it’s not going towards the shoreline. Extra acres are there on that east side of the property. We come back with more detail.”
It was suggested that an Environmental assessment would cost about $5-$10K. Mayor Thorne Rochon wanted to know if there was more added value to any potential sale with the EA attached. Barbeau said it would not necessarily affect any offers but added that in this case it would be advisable to consult with a commercial appraiser. Coun. Jérôme Courchesne asked for a budget around any sale, for both the EA and commercial appraisal, and was told it would be provided at the following session. Coun. Jamie Restoule wanted to know how soon an RFP to manage the park for this season could be put out and awarded. Barbeau said he thought they could likely do it by the end of March “and then somebody will have to be ready to hit the ground running with everything that needs to be done to operate it.”
First Pride Parade coming this June
This year, West Nipissing may be holding its first ever Pride Parade in June. WN Pride committee members Michel Gervais and Ryan Morin presented to West Nipissing Council on February 21st asking for support for their 2023 programming, and to have June declared Pride Month, with a flag raising and other scheduled events.
Ryan Morin told council, “West Nipissing Pride’s goal is to promote unity, inclusion, awareness of sexuality and gender diversity. We aim to create a sense of community and safe places for two-spirit LGBTQ+ individuals, their families and their allies. The importance of having a Pride committee in West Nipissing is to increase visibility in the rural areas of Northern Ontario, to support queer people who have less access to resources due to our geographical isolation.” The two brought some family and friends to support their endeavour.
Gervais spoke to the programming planned, “For the past few years, we have done a proclamation on June 1st at 12 p.m., so we would like to request to do it again this year and make it an annual celebration at Minnehaha Bay… We hope to have some students and youth to speak at the event, as well all municipal employees are invited and… any other councillor that would like to speak at the event. …Our second request would be to install the Pride flags in downtown Sturgeon Falls.” The group also plans to provide Pride flags for any other West Nipissing community that would fly them.
Then came the exciting announcement. “There’s a third request; our big event this year. We’re aiming to have a Pride parade and we’d like to organize it in partnership with the municipality.” It is scheduled for June 9th, 2023, at 1pm. Pride West Nipissing is hoping to have road closures for the parade, will be inviting floats and promotion, music, speeches and celebration.
The request was welcome by Mayor Thorne Rochon. “We appreciate the work that the Pride committee is doing… how important it is for young people, for older people, being able to feel at home in their own community, in their own selves. I would like to, on behalf of all of Council, thank you as president and the rest of the committee, because I know that you’ve put in a lot of hard work, you’ve done a lot of fundraising, you’ve done a lot of awareness raising, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. For every step you take there’s one more person in this community who feels comfortable in themselves. Thank you very much.”
Possible lights for Hwy 17 and Levac at Cache Bay
No winter sand for private roads