Lambton Shores buys a former bank in Grand Bend for $1M

427

Blake Ellis/The Independent

Lambton Shores has purchased the former Bank of Montreal property in Grand Bend for just over $1 million.

The branch at 6 Ontario Street closed on April 21. Lambton Shores Council agreed to borrow internally, at its April 30 meeting, as this was an unplanned purchase by the municipality and no money set aside for it.

Lambton’s Shores Director of Financial Services Janet Ferguson, told council the $1 million would be borrowed from the reserve fund at a cost at what those funds would have earned in interest from the bank.

The current internal interest rate used by the municipality is prime minus 1.65 per cent, which comes to 5.5 per cent. Interest on a 10-year loan will amount to $133,000.

The financing has been recommended as an interim measure, until council can decide on the long-term use of the property.

While Lambton Shores has reserves funds, most of the money has been put aside for existing asset replacement.

The municipality will not be making a payment on the loan until the end of this current fiscal year.
Lambton Shores will also be working on a land review in 2024 to determine if there are any municipal properties which should be sold. Staff says there may be an opportunity for the proceeds of the land sales to be put towards the purchase of the Bank of Montreal branch, said Ferguson.

For now, the municipality will be using the property for paid parking in the busy beach town. The rate is comparable to what is charged in the rest of Grand Bend at $30 a day or $7 an hour. Overnight passes could also be purchased for $10.

Lambton Shores won’t be installing any equipment at the parking lot. The HotSpot app or the Quick Tap QR Code will be used instead of installing a meter. The hours for paid parking will be 8 am to 3 am, with signs being posted.

The former bank building will remain on the property for now. Municipal staff is also looking at the possibility of using a portion of the parking lot for a lay down area when bridge construction begins nearby.