By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES — While the old fish plant building has yet to be sold, progress has been made when it comes to putting it to better use. The set of large blue buildings on the harbour front takes up resources through maintenance that could be better used elsewhere, and should the building be sold to a prospective buyer, those resources would be put back into the town instead.
“The property has been largely vacant since it was acquired by the Town in 2009. Since that time the Town has incurred annual expenses with respect to maintenance, utilities and mechanical upkeep to maintain its integrity as an economic opportunity for development. The Town made a decision early this year that the property would be advertised to determine if a company(s) would be interested in purchasing and developing the property,” said Leon MacIsaac, Town Manager of Port aux Basques.
The town had explored if anyone would be interested in purchasing the building back in May, and received responses from two interested parties.
“The Town property, located at 13-23 Pleasant Street, was issued for interest through a Request For Proposal which was advertised on May 31, 2021 and closed on June 23, 2021. The Town received interest from several companies in the region with two submissions received at the time of the RFP closing date,” confirmed MacIsaac.
However, there are still procedures to follow before any other action is taken regarding the building. Submissions will have to be reviewed by a committee, with its results subsequently examined by council.
“The Town has a review committee (which includes members of Council and staff) who will review each submission to determine whether it meets the required evaluation criteria for consideration. Once the review process is complete, the committee will contact the ideal proponent to discuss and clarify the submission or request further information. Once all relevant information such as economic value and development proposal have been considered, the committee will then make a recommendation for acceptance at a Special Meeting of Council. The Special Committee of Council will take the recommendation into consideration and decide whether to table the proposal for acceptance and approval for ratification via a Motion of Council at a Public Meeting,” explained MacIsaac.
Following the decision by council, the sale of the building would then be taken to the provincial government, as it is a public property.
“Any decisions of Council would require approval from the Provincial Minister for sale of a public asset. The Minister would render the final decision on whether or not to accept the Motion of Council. There are a number of time consuming steps which are required to be completed prior to completing a conveyance for sale of any public property. Any decisions on how the sale would or would not affect existing Town debt or taxation are made by Council,” said MacIsaac.