land transaction (pending)

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Township of Russell

June 07, 201807 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Russell relying on the acquisition or disposition of land exception to discuss the disposition of a municipal road allowance. The Ombudsman found that the discussion about the closure and sale of a road allowance fit within the exceptions set out in the Municipal Act, 2001.

Town of Fort Erie

April 18, 201818 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by council for the Town of Fort Erie to discuss a potential partnership with a post-secondary institution. The meetings were closed under the acquisition or disposition of land exception. During the discussions, staff presented information on the basic concept of the partnership, and council discussed the need for the town to rent, lease, or purchase property to house the project, including properties that may be of interest if the partnership moved forward. The Ombudsman found that at the time of the meetings, council was in the early stages of decision-making, had not turned its mind to protecting its bargaining position in property negotiations, and had not taken any practical steps to acquiring land. Therefore, council’s discussions did not fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.

Town of Grimsby

November 14, 201614 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Grimsby to discuss obtaining a business valuation of Niagara Power Inc., a municipally-controlled corporation. Council also discussed the sensitive nature of obtaining a valuation. Although it did not rely on the acquisition or disposition of land exception, the municipality suggested it might apply to council’s discussion. The Ombudsman found that the acquisition or disposition of land exception would not apply to the discussion since there were no pending or proposed land deals discussed.

City of Niagara Falls

November 03, 201603 November 2016

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls to discuss a proposal to develop a university campus in the municipality. The meeting was closed under the acquisition or disposition of land exception. During the discussion, staff provided information on the potential effect of the development on municipally-owned properties, and the possibility of expropriation. The Ombudsman found that at the time of the meeting, there were no land transactions in progress and council was not taking practical steps to dispose of its properties. Rather,  council was primarily concerned about the sensitive nature of the business information discussed. Therefore, council’s discussion did not fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.

City of Port Colborne

November 19, 201519 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Port Colborne to discuss various ongoing land sales and an ongoing lease negotiation for municipally-owned property. The Ombudsman found that the discussions fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception as the land involved was municipally owned and a lease constitutes a property interest in land.

City of Elliot Lake

November 09, 201509 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake that relied on the acquisition or disposition of land exception to discuss the decision of a committee with respect to the disposition of property. The purpose of the meeting was to update a committee member. The disposition had already been made public. The Ombudsman found that subsequent discussions at council about property-related deliberations could continue to fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception. Therefore, the discussion fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.

Armour Township and Village of Burk's Falls

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint closed meeting held by council for the Village of Burk’s Falls and council for Armour Township to discuss possible amalgamation of the two municipalities. At the time of the meeting, there were no land transactions in progress nor was either municipality contemplating purchasing or selling any land. Any discussions about land transactions were speculative. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.

Village of Burk's Falls and Armour Township

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint closed meeting held by council for the Village of Burk’s Falls and council for Armour Township to discuss possible amalgamation of the two municipalities. At the time of the meeting, there were no land transactions in progress nor was either municipality contemplating purchasing or selling any land. Any discussions about land transactions were speculative. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.

Town of Fort Erie

April 13, 201513 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of Fort Erie to hear a presentation of the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation. The meeting was closed under the acquisition or disposition of land exception. During the meeting, council may have briefly discussed a purely speculative disposition of land. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion did not fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception because the discussion was purely speculative and did not involve an imminent purchase or sale of land. Accordingly, there was no bargaining position to protect.

City of Welland

November 18, 201418 November 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland that relied on the acquisition or disposition of land exception to discuss a marketing plan prepared by an economic development consultant. The municipality believed that the marketing plan contained sensitive business information and should be confidential. The Ombudsman found that the discussion did not fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception because council did not discuss a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality.

City of Elliot Lake

October 27, 201427 October 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Finance and Administration Committee for the City of Elliot Lake that relied on the acquisition or disposition of land exception to discuss the closure of White Mountain Academy. The municipality had an agreement with the school to pay for maintenance of the building. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s financial interests might have been harmed if the discussion were held in open session. Therefore, the discussion fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.

City of London

April 24, 201424 April 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee for the City of London that relied on the acquisition or disposition of land exception to discuss the municipality’s land development. The committee received a report from staff that referenced lands the municipality was interested in purchasing or for which it had initiated negotiations to purchase. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.

City of Elliot Lake

August 01, 201301 August 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Elliot Lake to discuss the municipality’s negotiations with the Serpent River First Nation with respect to acquisition of crown land for a local development project. The meeting was closed using the acquisition or disposition of land exception. During the meeting, council received information about the status of confidential negotiations with the Serpent River First Nation. Council discussed the municipality’s negotiation strategy and next steps. The Ombudsman found that the discussion fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.

City of Oshawa

June 28, 201328 June 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Oshawa that relied on the exception for acquisition or disposition of land to discuss the acquisition of property for a consolidated operations centre. Council received information from the president of a local union about the conditions in the existing public works building. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception. The Ombudsman noted that the delegation about the condition of the public works building would not on its own fit within the exception, however, the purpose of the delegation was directly related to the potential acquisition of the property and if the delegation was made in open session the municipality’s bargaining position could have been affected.

City of Oshawa

June 28, 201328 June 2013

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Oshawa to discuss a matter involving the disposition of municipally owned lands. The meeting was closed under the acquisition or disposition of land exception. Council discussed a staff report that provided information on the property and correspondence from the lawyer of an interested buyer. Council also discussed how to proceed with respect to the disposition of the lands. The Ombudsman found that council’s discussion fit within the acquisition or disposition of land exception.