St. John’s city council Monday night voted to pay $770,000 for land expropriated from Scouts Canada.
Council approved the amount at its regular meeting to pay fair market value for the property at 15 Terra Nova Rd. it announced in April it would expropriate from the Scouts, who had already agreed to sell the property to the provincial branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, which planned to use the building on the property for its new headquarters.
At the time, the city said it needed the property — which it had sold to the Scouts for $1 decades earlier — for its own operations.
The $770,000 represents the selling price the association had agreed to with the Scouts, said Coun. Art Puddister.
The city had also bid on the property
“The amount that we’re paying is actually fair market price, what they would have (been) paid from the other purchaser,” said Puddister. “We are working with the other third party, interested party, at Canadian Mental Health Association to find alternative accommodations.”
Puddister called the property “a good acquisition” for the city.
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“We have the Metrobus on one side, the park on the other,” he said. “This is a piece of property which was given to Scouts Canada for a dollar back in 1970. We always had it in our agreement that we would have first right of refusal to purchase. Unfortunately, things got off the rails.”
Coun. Dave Lane said the city didn’t know who the Scouts had agreed to sell the land to when the city decided to expropriate it.
“We are in a dialogue with the association to find appropriate space for them,” Lane said.
“There’s lots of options, and I’ll just leave it at that for now, but we’re certainly in discussions, and I look forward to working with them. … We don’t want to send the wrong message here. We’re certainly willing to work with them and hope to find something very appropriate.”