By Chad Ingram
The Township of Algonquin Highlands is buying the piece of land that houses its trails office from the provincial government.
That office sits along Highway 35 south of Dorset at St. Nora Lake, part of the former Frost Centre complex. And while the provincial government, through Crown corporation Infrastructure Ontario, recently commercially listed 40 acres of the former Frost Centre for sale for $1.1 million, Mayor Carol Moffatt noted during a Nov. 19 council meeting that the township had been working on the deal to purchase the trails office property long before that development.
A report from chief administrative officer Angie Bird indicated the township has been working since 2013 to purchase the triangular, one-acre piece of property that houses the trails office, a facility the township has leased from the provincial government since 2005, in a lease agreement that would expire in 2025.
“The Order in Council to purchase the property was received in 2019, and Ministry of Infrastructure staff have been given the direction to expedite the sale of the triangular piece of land where the trails office is located,” Bird’s report read. “The sale includes an easement for the hiking trail which runs along the shore and onto the Frost Centre lands.”
Council had already given its approval of the purchase in closed session – the acquisition or disposition of land is one of the permitted reasons municipal councils may take a meeting in-camera – and the direction given at last week’s meeting was to approve the signing of the purchase agreement.
It will cost the township just less than $250,000, and about half of that amount will come from a reserve fund that was set up for the purchase of the trails office following the township’s sale of Club 35 a number of years ago.