SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – Mayor Christian Provenzano admitted purchasing 89 Hudson Dr. is more about morals than any particular vision during the Sept. 14 council meeting.
The decision to buy the former Studio 10 property which has an MPAC value according to City Solicitor Kathy Fields of $62,000-69,000 was met with some opposition and various members questioning the price of $350,000 plus HST for a total of $395,500. Provenzano admitted the city didn’t initially identify this property as needing to be purchased.
“The property owner reached out to the city. And it was certainly something that I could, I’m comfortable taking some responsibility for, and really frankly asking Council for direction to engage in this and working with staff on it,” said Provenzano during the meeting, “any questions as to kind of the motivation or what staff’s plans are, you know, probably should be directed to me because it wasn’t really something that staff was motivated by or had any plans for. It was an opportunity that came to city council to buy a piece of property and remove the zoning on that piece of property. So for the next 50 years, when you drive over a bridge, the first thing that you see is not a strip bar.”
Councillor Scott was the most concerned about this purchase. He wondered if the city had ever bought a property just to remove the licensing, he also wanted to know about the vision for the project.
“Even if we could flip it for x amount, but we, it appears if MPAC, and we could assume MPAC isn’t going to exactly be the purchase price based on demand and market, but it appears we would be overpaying quite significantly,” said Scott. “I personally don’t feel comfortable spending that sort of money, taxpayer money on that.”
Provenzano had already admitted there was no plan for the property next to it being a “good piece of property for our inventory” when Ward 2 Councillor Luke Dufour spoke up in regards to different projects on the go. “I just want the public to really understand that there absolutely is a vision for this area. We have a Jamestown revitalization strategy coming this piece of property as part of that. We have significant development that’s occurred on Mr. Porco’s property at the Mill Market. We’ve extended the hub trail to this area, we have an opportunity to extend it further. In the years to come, which will go by this area, we are relocating our transit shelter to this area we’ve approved, you know, a potential gateway development and condo development to this area.”
After the meeting, Sault Online reached out to the city and Councillor Dufour for some more information on the Jamestown project. The city has been unable to provide any information and Dufour said it is still in the planning phase but will be coming to council soon. We have since obtained a draft copy of the proposal. After reviewing it, the property does not appear to have any role in the re-development of Jamestown.
It was also determined before the vote the city would maintain the property by cutting grass and adding a few trees, since that point the property has had some work done to it. None of this was included in the price sent to council.
The vote was taken and the purchase passed 10-1 with only Scott against.