After years of discussions, in December 2016 representatives of Cavan Monaghan, Peterborough County and the City of Peterborough signed an agreement for the transfer of 4140 acres of residential and industrial lands to the City of Peterborough for future development.
The objective of the agreement which was concluded with the assistance of Provincial Land and Development Facilitator, Paula Dill, was to secure serviced employment lands to accommodate anticipated future growth in the area over the next 20 years for the benefit of the region. The signed agreement was to form the basis of the Draft Restructuring Proposal, which would receive public scrutiny and ultimate approval by the elected Councils of the signing parties prior to its implementation.
In March, Peterborough City Council rejected the agreement saying it was too expensive, and asked their staff to devise a new proposal to reduce the financial burden of the transaction on the City. Peterborough Chief Administrative Officer Alan Seabrooke came back to Cavan Monaghan Council with a revised proposal where the total payments to the township over the 25 year agreement remained the same, incorporating significant timing differences in their receipt. The revised proposal resulted in the City position becoming cash flow positive in the first seven years of the agreement by reducing payments to the Township and the County, with cash flow falling into negative territory in subsequent years.
In May, Cavan Monaghan Council rejected this revised revenue sharing proposal and approached Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro to seek assistance in bringing the contentious boundary adjustment discussions to a conclusion. Peterborough City Council has also approached the Minister, suggesting that the province should decide where the border should be and how much the city should pay.
Since the City’s rejection of this proposal, there have been no further boundary adjustment discussions amongst the parties. This summer, Peterborough seemed to move on, formally adjusting its municipal electoral boundaries to balance population levels in preparation for next year’s elections.
This summer, Mauro acknowledged the successful completion of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last December and is encouraging the parties to work together to reach a local agreement to resolve this impasse. To this end, he has offered to provide the services of Ms. Dill for one more day of discussions to explore the possibility of resolving the outstanding issues and bring a restructuring proposal that has the support of all parties.
Council has agreed to participate in another discussion to ensure they are not perceived as establishing an obstacle to the successful completion of an agreement which might support an argument for arbitrary decisions at the provincial level which may not be in the interests of the township. During a discussion of the current stalemate between the parties in August, Premier Wynne suggested that while it is always preferable to find local solutions, the province is willing to impose decisions when necessary. Mayor Bennett believes that new industrial lands are essential to the city, and is pleased that the Premier is aware of the situation and encouraged that she will consider intervening.
Mayor McFadden, Chief Administrator Yvette Hurley and the consultant who advised the township in its negotiations will participate on behalf of the township at the meeting which is expected in the near future, but given the 25 year history of these discussions, there is little cause for optimism that this meeting will result in an agreement that is acceptable to all parties. KG