Agri-Culture Centre members aim to fight District lease termination

Society president sees no reason why they can't share with District's plan

  • May. 12, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Jeremy Hannaford

100 Mile Free Press

On March 9, the District of 100 Mile House presented the South Cariboo Agri-Culture Enterprise Centre Society with a termination of tenancy.

The notice states the society members have to vacate the premise of 98 Cecil Place by May 31 at noon.

The District gave the Ag Society a five year lease agreement which expired in August 2015. The decision to end the current month-by-month tenancy agreement came about as the District plans to install a new water treatment plant near the 98 Cecil Place office space.

The District gave the Ag Centre three months’ notice that it needed the office space and the society would have to vacate the premises.

When the councillors decided to not demolish the existing facilities, they acquired adjacent land for the treatment plant, and will use the vacated building to provide office space for the engineers and contractors who will be constructing the plant.

The new water system is moving forward following the recent approval of federal funding for the Efficient Use of Clean Water Project. The construction will begin in late spring or early summer 2016 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.

However, Ag Society president Rod Hennecker says the decision is unwarranted and too short of notice.

We haven’t been given enough notice and we would have to start from scratch with no support from the town.

“I can’t see them needing the whole lodge. We think we could all be accommodated.”

Hennecker adds the members have not looked into finding a new location yet as he hopes they can keep the building.

We do our best work from where we are.”

According to the notice, the District is not prepared to share office space, nor is there an appetite to provide alternative space during the term of the water project.

It’s being done to avoid additional housing costs that would be paid by the taxpayers.

The termination notice states the Ag Society can retake the building after the water treatment plant is complete.

The Ag Centre has enjoyed five years of free use of District offices,” Mayor Mitch Campsall explains in a May 6 statement.

The District respects and supports the work of the Ag Society and may well be in a position to do so in the future.”

If the Ag Centre society decides to reuse the facility in 2019, it would have to pay a nominal fee of $1 and the property would be subject to all taxes, fees and utility charges as applicable to any other land owner within District boundaries.

Hennecker says he likes the idea of ownership, but objects to the taxes.

We have been lobbying the council. We’ve felt for that last couple of years that managing the whole complex was something we could do.

“But [society members] hope [the District] will forgive the taxes on the building.”

As it stands, the Ag Society members will have to have removed themselves from the building before June 2016.