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December 28, 2021

Top 10 stories of 2021: #5

Top 10 stories of 2021: #5

The saga of the former Talisman Resort continues

BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Making it to #5 on our list, this story is one that's destined to become one of the top stories of 2022, as well.

Too complicated to sum up in 250 words or less, we recently tasked John Butler to detail the steps that have led up to the current situation with regards to former Talisman Resort lands. It's a tale that began in 2011 when the then-owners of several parcels of land, formerly-known as Talisman Mountain Resort, declared bankruptcy, placing the properties into the possession of Grey Highlands.

A history of failed attempts at reviving the resort failed, followed by failed efforts to secure stable new owners which eventually led to a concerted venture in 2020 to market the properties to development interests.

Talisman Lands: Future Partnership or Continued Friction

While community and environmental groups were still coalescing to cobble together an offer to purchase, the municipality of Grey Highlands accepted a conditional offer from Westway Group in July, 2021.

Shrouded in secrecy, the details of the offer and its condition(s) are still unknown. The reasons for shutting out local community and environmental groups has also been kept confidential.

In August, the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy submitted its own offer to purchase the lands.

In September, a group of concerned citizens called the Protecting Talisman Lands Association (PTLA — owners of Protecttalisman.ca) filed a freedom of information request with the Municipality of Grey Highlands on the process related to the sale to Westway Capital.

In October, a 725-name petition to Council opposing its Talisman actions was presented.

In November, PTLA announced that it had filed an application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice concerning the Municipality of Grey Highlands’ conditional sale of the municipally owned Talisman lands. It asked the court to quash the municipality’s decisions on the sale.

In a meeting held in December, Municipal Council declared the properties as surplus lands only after the PTLA's prior application alleged that the municipality did not comply with provisions of the Ontario’s Municipal Act and its own policy concerning the sale of surplus lands in entering into this conditional sale agreement.

And from the municipality of Grey Highlands, Mayor and Council, there was nothing but silence as they claimed privilege of confidentiality as afforded to them by the same Municipal Act.

Now we await the next chapter of this saga. To quote Bette Davis, "fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night!"

Read the many instalments of this story:
Talisman property 101: How did we get here?
Grey Highlands owns a property it doesn't want
The community raises its voice a little louder
Voices grow louder still, while the municipality's silence deafens
An alternate offer is presented
Is the community as divided over Talisman as some would have us believe? See our informal survey results

 


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