3 – Closing the Deal
At the regular Council meeting on Tuesday, March 29, resolutions disposed of the major municipal assets in the mining zone of Greenstone Gold Mines. Five Ward Councillors attended; the three absentees were Councillors William Assad (Geraldton), André Blanchard (Rural West), and Claudette Trottier (Beardmore). Mayor Renald Beaulieu called the meeting to order shortly after 6:30 p.m.
At 6:39:00 p.m., Clerk Gabrielle Lecuyer read the following motion: “THAT By-Law 16-22, being a By-law to enter into an Option to Purchase Agreement between the Corporation of the Municipality of Greenstone and Greenstone Gold Mines GP Inc. for the Headframe be approved for passage and enactment.” It was moved by Councillor Armand Giguère (Rural East) and seconded by Councillor Eric Pietsch (Geraldton). At that point, Councillor James McPherson (Longlac) requested an in camera session to discuss matters behind closed doors. He was supported by Councillor Sylvie Lemieux (Longlac). The other three Councillors declined to support the motion.
Councillor Giguère (Rural East) asked about the possibility of preserving the headframe and relocating it elsewhere. Chief Administrative Officer Roy Sinclair said that the move was deemed cost-prohibitive, and that Council preferred to build a replica. Mayor Beaulieu added that an engineering firm engaged by Greenstone Gold Mines had made a study and come to that conclusion. Councillor McPherson (Longlac) said that he would like to know the cost of relocation as determined by that engineering firm, and said that the figure should become part of the public record. There was no response to Councillor McPherson’s request.
Councillor Matthew Donovan (Nakina) expressed the opinion that negotiations with Greenstone Gold Mines had gone well, and that the proceeds of the sales should be deposited in a special reserve account in order to replace the assets in future. Councillor Lemieux (Longlac) endorsed that proposal, saying that the proceeds should not be directed to general revenue. At one point, Councillor Pietsch (Geraldton) said that the replica headframe could double as an observation tower.
Mayor Beaulieu expressed the opinion that the negotiations with Greenstone Gold Mines had been fair. At 6:54:25 p.m., the By-law was adopted unanimously. Time elapsed: 15 minutes, 25 seconds.
At that point, the Clerk read the following motion: “THAT By-Law 16-23, being a By-law to enter into an Option to Purchase Agreement between the Corporation of the Municipality of Greenstone and Greenstone Gold Mines GP Inc. for the Kenogamisis Golf Course Holes 10-18 be approved for passage and enactment.” The motion was duly moved and seconded.
Councillor Donovan (Nakina) said he would like to see a motion in future that would establish a special reserve fund for the proceeds of sales. CAO Sinclair reminded Council that the proceeds of sales would not be forthcoming from Greenstone Gold Mines for several years. Councillor McPherson (Longlac) said that in the event that Greenstone Gold Mines began developing the mine and then found itself unable to proceed, he would like some guarantee that there would be funds in place for lost or damaged assets such as the headframe and golf course. There was no response to his suggestion.
At 6:59:10 p.m., the By-law was adopted unanimously. Time elapsed: 4 minutes, 45 seconds.
At that point, the Clerk read the following motion: “THAT By-Law 16-24, being a By-law to enter into an Option to Purchase Agreement between the Corporation of the Municipality of Greenstone and Greenstone Gold Mines GP Inc. for the Heritage Interpretive Centre be approved for passage and enactment.” The motion was duly moved and seconded. There was no discussion. At 6:59:40, the By-law was adopted unanimously. Time elapsed: 30 seconds.
At that point, Mayor Beaulieu said that, the By-laws now being public documents, he would disclose the figures for the sales. The proceeds of sales would be transferred to the Municipality in 2024. The following figures include interest for the delayed payouts:
Headframe: $1,435, 251
“New” 9 Holes of Golf Course: $3,098,531
Interpretive Centre: $4,475,372
Grand Total of Sales: $9,009,154
Mayor Beaulieu pointed out that Greenstone Gold Mines owns the property on which the three municipal assets sit. He said that he felt comfortable with the agreement as negotiated.
The Mayor said that the Municipality will be retaining the artifacts in the interpretive centre, and added that it was simply not feasible to relocate the centre.
As for the historic nine holes of the golf course, the Municipality and the mine have not yet come to an agreement. Mayor Beaulieu said that he has been advised that dust and noise should not be a problem for golfers. With regard to the waste piles that will be accumulating around the course, he said that golfers will be able to enjoy their game for another eight, nine, or ten years.
At 7:05:35 p.m., the Council meeting moved on to other business. Time elapsed for the 3 items of business: 26 minutes, 35 seconds. In the public gallery, besides this journalist, there were three residents from Geraldton and two from Longlac.