Huntsville considering dissolution of Pitman’s Bay 1951 agreement
Huntsville General Committee discussed getting out of the 1951 contract for Pitman’s Bay, in the September 27, 2023, meeting.
According to the staff report, the agreement that was established in 1951 prior to and upon the property being transferred to the Town as a trustee, stated that it must remain used by church youth groups.
Staff will have discussions with the Church Management Board, as also required by the agreement, about the potential dissolution of the agreement.
Director of Operations and Protective Services, Tarmo Uukkivi, emphasized the importance of “getting out of the agreement to provide Council with more options moving forward.”
Given considerations about the potential uses of the property, a public survey was conducted, with feedback in support of keeping (not selling) it, and to continue using it for youth, or making it accessible to the public for various uses.
Councillor, Monty Clouthier, inquired about whether the church still wanted to be involved with the Committee.
Uukkivi indicated that the church was involved in 2017 to 2018. He said, “I would suggest that given the public eyes on this particular project and issue, the church would want to have a say.” He said he would look into it.
Mayor, Nancy Alcock, indicated that she was glad the issue about whether to keep or sell the property was expressed by the public, and that it’s a step forward from there regarding a policy for youth groups.
The Committee discussed the possibilities for youth and family events for the property.
Councillor, Dione Schumacher, suggested that they be clear about where they want to go with it, including issues about overnights and alcohol.
Councillor, Helena Renwick, said, “Going forward it will still be a great community asset and I look forward to it.”
Councillor, Scott Morrison suggested it would be a good spot for camping, however, “it doesn’t seem congruent with a public facility.” He added “It goes against recommendations of the survey results that seeks it open to everybody.”
Alcock added that renting it exclusively, such as renting to a family, is the opposite of the direction the Town is trying to go. “It’s a conflict with the goal of using it for youth purposes.”
Uukkivi advised that staff include the various youth groups that have been involved with the property in the discussions. He said, “We will be including everybody and making sure that we come back to Council and getting guidance regarding what that looks like.”
Councillor, Jason FitzGerald, expressed support for maintaining the property for youth groups.
He also expressed concern about the loss of revenue from the property and suggested “a hybrid model where we can still generate revenue from it to offset maintenance.”
Uukkivi advised that it depends because an important aspect is the protection of the Town regarding the services it can deliver and the insurance coverage. He said, “We’ll have to do the legal and insurance work to ensure permitted use by the Town.”
He added, “We would need to first take that step of dissolution of the 1951 agreement. That would open up to other options.”