Amid mounting public pressure, City of Kenora receives no offers for Town Island
Friends of Town Island campaign running strong with 12,000 signatures to online petition
KENORA, February 1, 2020 -- The City of Kenora has confirmed that it received no Expressions of Interest for the sale of Town Island during the official submission period which closed on January 30, 2020. Despite attempts to negotiate a conservation solution during the proposal period, the City rebuffed the Friends of Town Island group and serious questions remain as to the City’s plans for the island.
“We are not surprised by the result,” said Aaron London, Chair of the Friends of Town Island group. “The City’s minimum asking price was far too high for both the current market and unrealistic for cottage development. Furthermore, our public awareness campaign was effective in highlighting the threat of development to the island and our message resonated with tens of thousands of people both through our online petition and exposure through social media, print, TV and radio.”
“Popular support for our Win-Win-Win solution made clear to anyone considering submitting a development proposal that in addition to the decades long bureaucratic and environmental process to subdivide, they would face a dedicated, motivated and sophisticated community opposed to development on Town Island,” continued London.
The City had previously attempted to negotiate a land-swap of Town Island with the province of Ontario but negotiations were stymied by a complex bureaucratic process that stretched out for more than a decade. However, recent comments from the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (Kenora—Rainy River) held out the possibility that a land swap could still be possible.
“Minister Rickford is a savvy and dedicated MPP and has the skill and insight to get this done,” said London. “With so many Ontarians supporting our 12,000 signature petition, it’s the right thing to do and we are ready to support a public, private or hybrid solution that provides fair value for the land to the City and protects Town Island as conservation land.”
About Friends of Town Island
The Friends of Town Island is a grassroots group of Kenora residents, cottagers, youth camps and concerned stakeholders working together to conserve Town Island on Ontario’s Lake of the Woods and keep it free from development for the benefit of the public. By bringing together diverse communities of nature lovers, environmentalists, wilderness enthusiasts and youth advocates, the group is working to raise awareness of the risks related to the City of Kenora’s recent Request for Proposals for development of the island and has launched a public awareness campaign featuring a website, online petition and a Facebook Group. For more information visit: www.townisland.ca.