MINTO – Council will hold further discussions before going ahead with the proposed sale of Beehive Park.
Council declared the land surplus on Dec. 3 and directed staff to provide public notices of the proposed sale.
Located on Wellington Road 109 between Harriston and Teviotdale, the park was the site of a one-room schoolhouse until the mid-1960s.
It was operated as a roadside rest stop by the provincial Ministry of Transportation (MTO) for many years after the school closed.
In 2000, after the local portion of Highway 9 was downloaded from the province to the county, the newly-amalgamated Town of Minto purchased the property for $1 and continued to operate it as a roadside rest stop and picnic area.
A Dec. 3 staff report estimated it costs the town about $2,500 annually to maintain the park, including expenses such as grass cutting, a portable washroom, staff time and supplies. In addition, staff cited incidents of vandalism and garbage dumping as concerns.
However, at the Jan. 7 meeting, council discussed a letter from Harriston resident Dorelene Anderson objecting to the sale.
The letter notes Beehive Women’s Institute installed a memorial stone in a garden on the lot that recognizes the property as the former site of Beehive School.
Anderson stated the maintenance issues should not cause the town to abandon the park.
“I suppose we will always have some people who break the rules and cause difficulties for others,” the letter states.
“In a perfect world that wouldn’t happen, but we as humans are not perfect. That is why we have to employ others to do maintenance to protect our municipal properties.”
The letter asks council to relocate the memorial stone to another town property “if, in your wisdom, you choose to destroy part of our history.”
At the Jan. 7 meeting, councillor Mark MacKenzie requested the topic be put on the agenda for discussion at the Jan. 21 council meeting.
Mayor George Bridge, who was absent from the Dec. 3 meeting, said the action taken then was to ask for an appraisal of the property.
“I would hope we could bring it back at the next meeting and have a discussion on it and at that point in time we’ll know what the value is,” said Bridge.
“We didn’t have a motion to sell it?” asked councillor Ron Elliott. “To bring it to the table again in that situation we’d need a two-thirds council vote.”
Bridge said the previous motion was only to declare the land surplus.
“If it’s declared surplus, that doesn’t mean we have to sell it,” the mayor stated.
CAO Chris Harrow said staff will research the wording of the motion prior to the next meeting “and if we need a two-thirds vote to put it back on, it would at least be on the agenda and we could have that discussion and follow the proper procedure.”