Mayor wants to sell land to fund St. Davids Pool reconstruction

Mayor wants to sell land to fund St. Davids Pool reconstruction

Lord Mayor Betty Disero wants the town to sell excess land to pay for a new swimming pool in St. Davids.

Council voted to have staff prepare a report on the possible sale of two surplus lots and have the money funneled to St. Davids Pool.

Com. Sandra O’Connor and Alan Bisback voted against the plan at the committee’s planning meeting last week.

One of the surplus properties is located adjacent to 280 Anne Street. The land connects Anne and Butler streets.

Operations manager Sheldon Randall said the plot had previously been set aside to fund a turnaround at the end of Butler Street and improvements to the border trail. He said the excess money generated from the sale could still go to the pool.

The other plot is located off 978 East and West Line, next to Vineridge Academy.

The motion was spurred by Disero’s work with top Niagara politicians to find money for the pool.

“I was thinking about the work we were doing with Wayne Gates and Tony Baldinelli and them looking for money and I was like, ‘You know, if we’re doing all of this, we should be prepared to put some money aside. ” Disero said.

O’Connor said she was unaware of these plots of land and wanted a full review of them before supporting their sale.

“I’m not opposed to what the Lord Mayor is trying to do. She’s trying to be forward-looking and I think that’s great, but it’s just new to me and I don’t think I can sustain it until a little bit of due diligence has been done.” , O’Connor said.

Disero pointed out that the motion was to ask staff to report on the condition of the land and its saleability and not proceed with the sales.

Com. Clare Cameron wanted a full inventory of all surplus land in the city before supporting the sale of the two selected parcels.

Chief Administrator Marnie Cluckie told Cameron that a comprehensive list of surplus lands had been created and would soon be shared with council, prompting Cameron to support Disero’s motion.

Bisback said selling city assets “project by project” is a slippery slope.

He questioned the practice of selling land to support the pool when there have been no relevant updates on the design since it was presented nearly two years ago.

“I actually haven’t seen a plan of the St. Davids pool other than the original plan. Nothing has changed,” he said.

The $5 million plan has not been updated since the federal government turned down funding for the project in 2020.

Disero said the St. Davids pool committee would tweak the design to “bring the price down.”

“I understand that we have land to sell. I just don’t know why we’re linking the two at this point,” Bisback said.

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