Dysart to purchase aggregate pit

by Chad Ingram

Published Sept. 3 2019

The Municipality of Dysart et al will buy a licensed gravel pit off the Irish Line although one member of council has taken issue with the purchase.
At their Aug. 27 meeting councillors voted to purchase the 95-acre property for $475000 with Councillor John Smith saying he believed the municipality had overpaid.
“It’s a piece of property that was listed on MLS and you know there are lots of properties that get listed on MLS some of them sell some of them don’t sell … but it was council’s decision to not take any steps at least in my mind … [to ensure] that we’re actually achieving the best value for our taxpayers here” Smith said suggesting that the township should have hired an outside expert to perform a market analysis in order to determine a value for the property. Smith pointed out that when the municipality buys a vehicle for instance there is a competitive bid process so council can be sure it is getting the best value.
“We went ahead and submitted an offer without that insight” Smith said adding the seller had willingly accepted the township’s initial offer.
“And although that sand may be valuable to us the fact of the matter is the market isn’t determined by what one organization thinks it would be.”

“For the amount of sand that was in it we were going to have to pay that anyway” responded Councillor Tammy Donaldson adding that value was subjective.
The municipality’s public works director has estimated there is $2.5 million worth of sand on the property to be used by the roads department.
“To me that’s pretty good value” said Councillor Walt McKechnie.

Councillor Nancy Wood-Roberts said the issue had been discussed by council at length in closed session. The acquisition or disposition of property is one of the reasons council may go in-camera under the Municipal Act.
“Perhaps it wasn’t a unanimous decision but it was certainly decided by the majority of council that we go ahead” Woods-Roberts said. “Like Tammy said one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
“This was done completely open and transparent and according to our purchasing policies and our procurement of property” said Mayor Andrea Roberts. “We discussed it in closed [session] we have a resolution in open [session] . . . to say that we didn’t have the expertise to say the value of the property is basically slamming the expertise of our staff.”

Roberts added that Smith could have brought his suggestion to all of council and council could have agreed or disagreed.
“This followed complete due process” she said. “We had an evaluation of the property and of the aggregate in the property by our staff.”
Smith requested a recorded vote on the purchase voting in opposition while the rest of council voted in favour.