Youth Centre to stay in Baron’s building; Town to advertise for storage space before considering renting 395 Fletcher

Thera Wagner and Mayor John McCharles at the opening of The Rec Room in April. Pam Wright Photo

Petrolia Town Council has asked staff to come up with a deal with the former CAO to pay the utilities at the youth and seniors recreation centre.
Manny Baron bought 4168 Robert St. just before the town created The Rec Room. He didn’t disclose his ownership of the building to town council. At the time, Baron said he didn’t feel he needed to because the town was not paying rent. It was later learned the town was paying utilities at the building.
“This pilot project was approved by Council for a one year term; the current owner 2563075 Ontario Limited, (Baron’s company) would need to be engaged to establish an agreement to ensure that the programing as currently established is able to proceed until the close of the one year pilot project, April 30, 2018,” writes Dave Menzies, director of facilities and community services in a report to council.
The costs will be about $200 per month.
Menzies says right now about nine teens are registered for the year and the number of people at the centre fluctuates. About two or three seniors per day also make use of the facility.
Menzies suggested in his report the pilot project be evaluated in the winter of 2018 although the agreement with Baron’s numbered company would be until the end of April.
Councillor Grant Purdy says he has a “hard time” considering using the space considering the history. “I can’t see why it can’t be at The Centre.”
Purdy and Councillors Ross O’Hara and Tim Brown voted against working out a deal with Baron’s company.
Mayor John McCharles, and Councillors Joel Field, Mary Pat Gleeson and Liz Welsh voted in favour of striking a deal.
Council will see the document Dec. 11.
Meantime, council agreed to allow Menzies to continue looking at options for storage space. Originally, it was suggested the town negotiate a short-term lease with the new owner of 395 Fletcher St, Horst Ritcher.
Menzies has also been contacting other Petrolia companies with space available.
But not everyone had been asked. The owner of Access Mini Storage, Bart Sybenga, told council Monday he has 90,000 square feet of storage area but had yet to be contacted by the town.
So, Councillor Grant Purdy suggested, and council agreed, that the town should advertise to see who has storage space available before any decision is made.
One resident at the meeting felt that didn’t go far enough.
Hugh Deighton, who spent much of his career involved in purchasing, says the town should issue a request for proposal for the service.