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Published on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Council renews Bronte Outer Harbour lease

Transition period will assure smooth transfer of property to the public

Council renews Bronte Outer Harbour lease
— Halinet image
Town of Oakville renews Bronte Outer Harbour Marina lease for 2.5 years
By David Lea, Oakville Beaver

Local boaters can continue to make use of the Bronte Outer Harbour for at least the next two-and-a-half years.

Oakville council voted Monday, Sept. 25 to conclude a sublease agreement with Marina Group Inc., an association representing the harbour users.

The agreement follows an impending change in the harbour’s management.

In a report to the Administrative Services Committee on Sept. 18, town staff noted that the region currently leases the Bronte Outer Harbour from the federal government.

The leased area includes a regional park operated by the town and a marina, restaurant and banquet facility, which are operated by Marina Group Inc.

That lease is set to expire on April 14, 2018.

The report noted the region would be transferring control of the Bronte Outer Harbour to the town upon expiry of the current rental agreements.

The matter became more complicated on Sept. 18 when a dispute between Marina Group Inc., and the town led to negotiations concerning the Marina Group’s sublease being suspended.

Town staff said the group was interested in a sublease, which was longer than Oakville Mayor Rob Burton and the majority of the committee were prepared to accept.

“Council and the public in Oakville are of one mind when it comes to public access to the public waterfront. This is public land,” said Burton.

“In the negotiations about extending further time to the Marina Group, difficulties arose because Marina Group wanted more than 10 years and the town eventually wants to have it under town control.”

Concern that the lease would expire and leave the future of the Bronte Outer Harbour uncertain, resulted in around 100 members of the boating community attending Monday’s (Sept. 25) council meeting.

“We strongly encourage you to carefully consider the future of the Bronte Outer Harbour Marina as it will impact the future of marine operations in and around Halton for many years to come,” said Chris Bishop, chair of the Association of Oakville Harbours’ Stakeholders.

“The direction should be consistent with the yet-to-be-finalized development of the Harbours’ Master Plan.

“Therefore we believe consideration should be given to extending the current lease operation to allow the full and proper development of the Harbours’ Master Plan. It seems appropriate to provide an extension of two to five years and meanwhile develop options for the future operation of the outer harbour.”

Those present also heard from Marina Group CEO Arlene Christiansen who called for a five-year lease for the group with an option for a further extension of five years.

“The docks are owned by the Marina Group. They have a replacement value of $7.5 million … They are commercial docks that are wide, stable and well-built. I am willing to donate the docks to the town on the condition that a five-plus-five year lease would be provided to the Marina Group. The docks would become the property of the Town of Oakville at the end of this term,” said Christiansen.

“Doing so would benefit the taxpayers of Oakville for not having to pay for new docks, would allow the town’s resources to be spent elsewhere and would enable boaters to retain their boats at their present facility and would provide the town with a ready to operate marina. Should this not be an option I propose a minimum of two and a half years be provided to allow for a better transition for all parties with the marina maintaining ownership of the docks.”

Town council ultimately voted for the two-and-a-half-year lease option, which Christiansen agreed to go along with.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News




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