Town blinks in new deal with Banting foundation, grant now
budget line item
Posted July 3,
New Tecumseth council and the Sir Frederick Banting Legacy
Foundation (SFBLF) have reached a new arrangement that recognizes each
other's roles and responsibilities over the 100 acre homestead
property. As well, inserts the operation into the municipal budget
beginning with $20,000, increasing annually by two per cent. In
exchange, the SFBLF cannot return to ask for a separate grant.
The new agreement represents a victory for a Foundation
which for the past couple years had been at loggerheads with council
because of strings attached to any grants. Council insisted they be
used only for capital projects, while the SFBLF wanted to employ the
funding to pay for operational costs such as utilities.
It came to a boil last winter when the SFBLF served notice it
would not renew its expiring lease agreement offering to replace it
with a 'Services Agreement' that maintained the scheduled site programs
and access support for its visitor programs.
In a Dec. 28, 2016 letter to the Town, SFBLF President David
Sadleir explained they had raised the funds to complete the "rescue,
restoration and adaptation of essential historic buildings at the BHHP."
"Hundreds of donors have generously supported that important
Canadian quest and the creation of our (Diabetes Management and
Education Centre) DMEC," wrote Mr. Sadleir. "With those major
objectives completed, it is no longer feasible for SFBLF to raise funds
in support of buildings and infrastructure owned by a municipality.
Increasingly, our donors are specifying that we are not to use their
gifts for such a purpose. We are unable to continue our support of the
costs of Town owned buildings and property at the expense of delivering
Councillors initially balked at the notion of paying for items
like heat and hydro, while also providing funds for building maintenance.
In April, with approximately three weeks left in the agreement, Ward 3
councillor Paul Whiteside said at the time, "they made a commitment,
now they want to terminate the lease, but it's totally different,
they're asking the Town to pick up all the operating costs. I think
it's totally new, and I'm not prepared to give them an open cheque
book. We are the owner, they are the tenants, and most tenants are
responsible for their own utilities."
Complicating the negotiations was the Simcoe County District
School Board receiving council support to include the property as a
site for a relocated Banting Memorial High School. As well, if the
Foundation walked away from the operation, New Tecumseth can't sell the
property without enduring a financial penalty on the profit because of
the original purchase agreement with the Ontario Historical Society. If
the Banting lands are sold for profit within 25 years from the date of
closing (which is 2033), the Ontario Historical Society Foundation
shall receive 85 per cent of the proceeds in excess of the purchase
price net of all transaction costs including applicable taxes."
Ward 4 councillor Fran Sainsbury said the new deal recognizes
the property produces a farm income of $16,800 which would subsidize
the new budget line.
"We are the owner of that building, that is an asset that
belongs to the
Town. They are volunteers who provide a great service, said councillor
will now have a clearer picture of what they will do. ... All we're
really doing is moving this to a line
item. This is not a private corporation. The foundation is run
separately, but the property is a Town asset. It cleans up who does
what. Their role really is to teach diabetes, to do the tours, and to
keep alive the legacy of Sir Frederick Banting. And this would stop
having them to come to the microphone. Otherwise if this building is
empty, we're still going to have to maintain that building. We can not
sell that building for years."
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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri