MPP Nicholls Challenges MNR on Lease Extension

Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls challenged the Minister of Natural Resources today (June 19) to do the right thing for anxious families and leaseholders ofRondeauProvincialParkand extend their lease agreements.

“This was a key concern of mine coming into office last year,” said Nicholls. “I know they concern these families have for the security of their homes, and the anxiety that comes with waiting for an answer.”

The leases are currently set to expire on December 31, 2017 on 283 properties that constitute a unique heritage community within Rondeau. Tenure has not been secured in 115 years, and the current leaseholders are looking to change that.

“The government’s plan now,” says Nicholls, “is to expire the leases and return the Park to its natural state.

“These cottages constitute less than 1% of the total area of the Park. Implementing a massive tear-down project – with heavy duty equipment and weeks of deconstruction work – would do greater damage to the environment than these quiet residents.”

Nicholls also said the opportunity to keep a stable revenue stream coming out of the Park was crucial for the local economy.

“Closing out these leases in 2017 is estimated to strip nearly $400 million in revenues compared to a 50-year lease extension. In a riding that has been particularly hard hit by the recession, that is not a number to be taken lightly.

“It makes economic sense to keep these cottagers where they are, it makes environmental sense, and we should be working together to enhance over a century of Rondeau Park stewardship. I hope the Minister will do the right thing by Rondeau’s families.”

 

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