Crown land in Ipperwash
Did you know that Ipperwash has 16 crown lands or public spaces within the Ipperwash community?
The public spaces or crown land in Ipperwash known by many, have been the destination for day-trippers, and the hot spot for large local gatherings or family reunions. By definition, crown lands are properties owned by either federal or provincial governments and in Ontario, these lands are managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) — this includes shorelands and the beds of most lakes and rivers.
The MNRF office servicing these crown lands in Ipperwash is located in Aylmer, 130 kilometers or an hour and a half away, making this task impractical. In past years Ontario Parks, specifically the Pinery, was contracted by MNRF to perform the service work. Generally speaking the care for these lands has been timely and excellent. Of course, during a premature spring when day-trippers arrive early enjoying unseasonal weather and the park is not fully staffed to respond, there can be issues. 2020 has been one of those years. Delays of service this spring were compounded by an internal review of these crown lands.
Early this year MNRF, completed an internal assessment to determine how MNRF moves forward with these lands in their inventory if at all. Servicing these popular spaces has been an ongoing issue as garbage quickly accumulates, servicing the washroom requires daily attention and general care of the property including grass cutting requires large equipment and trained personnel. From the review, MNRF has deemed these lands to be surplus to their inventory and are tasking Infrastructure Ontario (IO) to start the Realty Circulation Process for these lands.
“after a rigorous internal assessment process of the Ipperwash Crown land parcels, it was determined that the parcels do not contribute to the delivery of the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry mandate. We are continuing to assess options for future ownership and management of the parcels and have engaged with partner Ministries regarding broader program needs” – MNRF
There are 3 stages to the circulation process. Stage 1 and 2 happen concurrently and the lands are circulated to Provincial Ministries to express interest in the lands for direct (Stage 1) or indirect (stage 2) program uses. Stage 1 and 2 are posted for 30 days. If there is no interest expressed during that time the land will be circulated Stage 3 to the Broader public sector including municipalities, First Nations groups, School boards, and registered not for profit groups for them to express interest in purchasing the lands for a direct sale at market value (another 30 days).
Only if there are no interested parties in all three rounds of the circulation will the lands be posted for sale on the open market. The process to sell the lands (regardless of who purchases) will be about 1-2 years on account of the due diligence we are required to do in advance and approvals required to transact.
“Before IO examines the next steps for the properties, an exit planning process must be completed by MNRF to ensure a smooth transition. IO and MNRF are currently working to finalize those details. Being the very early stages of reviewing this matter, it is too soon to provide any firm plan or timelines with respect to the future of the property.” – Infrastructure Ontario
However, if a determination is made to dispose of the parcels, IO manages a well-defined disposition process on behalf of the government, which includes considerable due diligence prior to any sale of a property. For a more thorough understanding of this process, visit:
Government approval is required before any property is sold, through an Order-in-Council.
CICA has been in communication with Lambton Shores and Kettle & Stoney Point First Nations who have both shared their interest in the ownership and/or stewardship of these lands as potential commercial opportunities. CICA is also in communication with St Clair Conservation Authority and The National Conservancy of Canada, local environmental interest groups.
CICA has been and will continue through this process to be in constant communication with all parties involved to keep the process transparent and keep our members informed.
Find out more about crown lands in Ontario, click here
Infastructure Ontario, find out more, click here