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May 18, 2022

Grey Highlands Council votes to move up closing date of Talisman lands sale with Westway Capital

Beaver Valley as seen from the top of former Talisman ski hill

BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — The Municipality of Grey Highlands has issued a media release regarding the sale of former Talisman properties:

At the May 17 Grey Highlands Council meeting, Council agreed to a motion to advance the dates of the closing for the Municipal properties known as 150 Talisman Mountain Road — Upper and Lower to no earlier than May 25, 2022.

“We are excited about the prospects of this land and have continued to work in the best interests of all residents in Grey Highlands,” says Mayor Paul McQueen. “

The by-law finalizing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale was passed by Council on February 2, 2022.

Westway Capital is anxious to close this sale as soon as possible to start public engagement with the community,” says CAO Karen Govan. “We are excited to see the positive economic and community impacts Westway Capital will bring to Grey Highlands.”

Westway Capital will need to ensure that future activities adhere to legislation and receive approvals from Grey Sauble Conservation, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, and comply with County and Municipal Official Plans and Zoning Bylaws.

More information about the former Talisman lands and how they relate to the overall Beaver Valley Visioning, can be found in the FAQ section on the Beaver Valley Corridor Visioning Sessions pages of the Municipality of Grey Highlands website.

During the Open Forum portion of Grey Highlands May 17 Council meeting, five presenters expressed their views about the sale to Westway.

One of the presenters, Jeanette Walter stated, "There was an 11th hour notice of the meeting." She expressed concern was that it does not give the public time to prepare for the meeting. Joyce Hall asked councillors to vote 'no' to the earlier closing date. A general sentiment shared with the other presenters, was that they were not happy with the process and the rushed nature of the final sale.

Govan stated that the 180-day timeline previously given, was just an estimate. She also gave a brief outline of events leading to the sale of this property. She explained that during the past planning process, meetings were held with the public asking for their input. Talisman came up many times, and members of the public asked that something be done with that property. 

Grey Highlands entered into a joint venture with Talisman owners and agreed to market the three properties jointly. An offer was received from Westway Capital. Another offer was also received but negotiations were already underway with Westway Capital.

Earlier this week, a community meeting was held at Kimberley Hall with Danielle Valiquette, Grey Highlands Councillor (on leave) and Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Green Party candidate in the current provincial election. It was hoped that she could answer public concerns about the controversial process and sale to Westway. However, Valiquette had received advice from lawyers for the municipality just moments before the event, warning her to remain silent on the issue. Although she stayed to speak generally about Council's role in land development matters and environmental concerns, approximately 40-50 people who showed up, left frustrated and disappointed. Several departed early.

During the meeting, Valiquette mused that the silence imposed on Councillors regarding the sale might be partially lifted when the deal closes on the 25th. Whether that turns out to be true or not, many details will remain hidden. According to CAO Govan, the minutes from closed session discussions of Council will never be made public.


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