County approves land purchase plan

County council voted on Nov. 27 to proceed with the purchase of some lands with Groves Hospital in Fergus.

Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Jerome Quenneville said in an interview on Monday that the county motion means the hospital can now proceed with its offer to the Trask family.

The Groves Hospital Board is building a new hospital and chosen lands adjacent to the Wellington County Museum, known as the Trask lands, after a farmer and former reeve of old Nichol township.

Quenneville said that the board can now tell the five co-owners of those lands that the board can proceed with the purchase.

The farm contains 105 acres of land. Quenneville said the hospital will use 34 of those, and pay about $1.2-million. The county will obtain the remainder, which extends its holdings around the Wellington County Museum and Archives by about 71 acres, at a cost of about $3.4-million.

After a closed session on the Groves purchase deal and the deal to sell land to the Town of Erin, council agreed to both motions.

Groves is hoping to build a new hospital, and the tentative date is 2013.

Quenneville said the motion passed by the county gives it the right to approach the Trask family and get the land purchase approved.

Several options

Meanwhile at the county level, Chief Administrative Officer Scott Wilson said the shared purchase will give county officials several options with the extra land.

He said the deal is supposed to close by the end of this year, and “Everybody’s happy.”

He said there have been several suggestions made for the land the county owns at the site. One councillor has suggested park land, others have called for a new OPP station.

Wilson said after building the Rockwood OPP head­quarters, the county has a good idea of how much land it will need.

And, he said, a police station would not necessarily be placed on the Trask lands, because the county has options with its adjoining lands.

“There are a couple of spots up there,” Wilson said.

He added that some others have suggested a new county headquarters be built there, and moved from Guelph.

“I’m sure that’s way down the road,” he added.

Still others have suggested day care, social housing, and he added, there are “endless possibilities.” He noted the hospital might have some ideas about what neighbours would blend well in the area.

And, he noted, still others have suggested that now that the deal is done, the county could consider its holdings and “sell it off.”