Tuesday, June 16, 2015

COW Meeting Changed To Council Meeting

Marathon Council Meeting Set For June 22

The Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting that had been scheduled for June 22 has been changed to a Special Open Council Meeting in order to deal with issues not complete at the June 15 Council meeting.

Certain issues such as bylaws can not be dealt with at a COW meeting therefore the need to change to a Council Meeting.

On top of the agenda will be dealing with the SSSManhao hotel project at 100 Gordon Street. The company had asked for an extension of the City's option to purchase agreement for the period of one year. During their presentation to Council on June 15, the company's lawyer Mr. Erhlich said the company was willing to remove the Right of First Negotiation for the conference centre but indicated they would favour it being 'handed off' to the Great Canadian Casino company. That was not something which council seemed to agree with.

After over three hours of delegations and debates it was decided by Council to not grant the one year extension of the option to purchase agreement. Then Councillor Hong put forward a motion asking city staff to bring a report on how to offer the Manhao group a six month extension with the provision that the Right of First Negotiation for the conference centre would not be a part of the deal, as well as assurance the company would contribute $100,000 toward improvements to Piper's Park.

The way I interpret Hong's intent from his motion of extending the option to purchase by six months, would be sufficient time for the company to demonstrate they could meet the performance schedule they presented to council in support of their ask for a 12 month extension. You have to pay attention, as this gets a little difficult to follow.

This is a screenshot taken from the presentation to Council by Manhao which they used to demonstrate their ability to complete the hotel according to the original agreement, even though they have already missed several timelines.

According to the representative from the construction firm they claimed the ground preparation and foundation work would start on Nov. 2/15. During the discussion Hong asked how quickly permits could be issued for this work to meet this timeline and staff indicated it would be possible from their end.

To sum up, SSSManhao claims they are going to start the ground and foundation work on Nov. 2/15. Hong's proposal would see the option to purchase agreement extended long enough to see this work, does in fact proceed. If not, the City would be in a position to buy back the property without having to wait another 1 or 2 years.

Taking the Right of First Negotiation out of the equation was something the Manhao group has already said they are agreeable with. So, from my understanding, if SSSManhao truly intends to stick with the construction schedule as presented, they should have no difficulty accepting this new agreement.


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