Beachfront IssuesSold or Sold Out?
On Thursday, August 18, 2022, the last day the current council could pass a by-law to sell during this term, they voted 6-1 to sell the taxpayer-owned properties at Wasaga Beach Area One, plus the municipal parking lots, to Bayloc Developments and previously undisclosed partner, Zancor Homes. The deal is pending a 120-day due diligence period. The purchase price has not been disclosed but will likely be less than half market value. Development of 750 to 804 condominium units is expected. Beach Drive will be permanently closed and a $41 million redevelopment is planned at taxpayer expense. Demolition and clearing of the lands will also be paid for by taxpayers.
The Town’s refusal to hold public engagement meetings on the sale has been another issue on its own. The responses to a survey and a scientific poll conducted by the Wasaga Beach Ratepayers Association were 95% in favour of public meetings. The Site Analysis image on this page is part of the only information made public to date. The grey areas on the plan are privately owned properties and additional condominiums are planned for some of these areas. There are numerous questions about this project and no answers or even opportunities for discussion have been provided.
This is the most high-profile and controversial issue for voters to consider in the 2022 Wasaga Beach municipal election. The links below will take you to news articles in the local newspaper that track the process and may help you in making your choices for the new council and leadership.
What’s in the deal? Agreement between Wasaga Beach, Bayloc development still raises questions for ratepayers' group
Wasaga Beach has reached an agreement to sell its beachfront properties, but there are still a number of steps to take before its officially “sold.”
A deal for Wasaga Beach’s beachfront properties could be concluded by the end of April, said the town’s chief administrative officer.
That’s the timeline the town has laid out, George Vadeboncoeur said, to reach an agreement with Bayloc Developments to purchase the town-owned commercial lands — five development blocks covering approximately 10 acres overlooking Beach Area 1 — in a process that has thus far cost the municipality more than $170,000 in consulting and legal fees.
Bayloc was next in line, after discussions with the company council had initially selected to open negotiations with — Slate Asset Management — fell through in January after the two sides failed to agree on a price.
Bayloc Developments and the Town of Wasaga Beach have reached a deal on the town’s beachfront properties.
Following a lengthy behind-closed-door session, Aug. 18, councillors approved a bylaw to sell the beachfront lands to the developer at a yet-undisclosed price. The agreement is still subject to a 120-day period of due diligence.
Bayloc will also bring in Zancor as a partner, according to a news release issued by the town about 40 minutes after the council’s decision.
‘A complex set of negotiations’: Wasaga Beach looks ahead to start of beachfront redevelopment in 2022
Wasaga Beach Ratepayers Association (WBRA) president Faye Ego said one of the reasons behind the creation of her group was “to protect our taxpayer-owned beachfront lands.”
WBRA is concerned the town did not survey the public prior to launching the process to seek a new development partner, or ask for public input prior to selecting Slate.
In an online survey, 95 per cent of respondents supported the idea of the town holding public meetings prior to the beachfront properties being sold. A second survey, commissioned by WBRA and the Wasaga Business Association and conducted by Mainstreet Research, found 72 per cent of residents considered it very important, or somewhat important, that council hold public meetings before it sold its commercially zoned properties at Beach Area One.
Council is currently contemplating submissions from developers that had been previously green-lit to submit proposals to redevelop the town-owned commercial area.
The changes were opposed by Coun. Joe Belanger, who has been consistent in his opposition to aspects of the plan that would permit developers to have more flexibility about what would be built.
Similar language also permits flexibility in the creation of a second public square on town-owned land in the vicinity of Beck and Main streets.
“That’s beyond flexibility,” Belanger said. “That’s basically saying that very important anchors to our downtown, that were originally ‘shall be’ … are now ‘maybe they will be and maybe they won’t.’ “
‘It makes our survey pretty good:’ Wasaga Beach ratepayers’ poll backs survey results for public input on beachfront sale
A research firm’s poll shows the majority of Wasaga Beach residents want to see a public meeting ahead of any moves by the town to sell its beachfront properties.
The official plan policies for the beachfront could see buildings of four and six storeys along the beachfront, with a mix of commercial space on the ground floor and residential units above — including units that could be made available for short-term accommodations, similar to the Village at Blue Mountain.
The process doesn’t necessarily commit the town to selecting one, all or any of the preferred developers, Bifolchi told council’s Sept. 10 co-ordinated committee meeting.
“If we get six lousy submissions, we’re not going to sell the town out,” she said. “If we feel that none of them are sufficient, we have the right … to have another RFP. We aren’t bound by anything that comes forward.”