DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: A deal which allowed public use of the eastern portion of the parking lot, at 179 Mary Street in Port Perry, has expired with no new deal in place. The Township of Scugog previously had a deal with Brock’s Department Store for the public to use the eastern half of the lot. In return for public use, the township did not collect property tax for the lot, did all the maintenance on the property; which included winter maintenance and conducted parking enforcement of the lot. “We were certainly happy to carry on with the agreement the way it was, and we felt it was more than reasonable, a win-win for both parties,” Mayor Bobbie Drew told The Standard. Though, during negotiations on an extension of the deal, the owner of Brock’s wanted to have the Township add regular rent payments, for the lot, to the agreement. “Unfortunately, we didn’t feel it was responsible to our tax-paying residents to add an additional cost of rent for the parking lot. It was just a bit too costly,” Mayor Drew explained, adding the request would double the cost for the township. The Township countered with keeping the deal as it was with no rent added. The agreement expired on December 31st, 2019 following which signage and fencing was erected at the site separating the two halves of the lot shortly after. The western portion of the lot is owned by Scugog Township and remains open for public parking. Brock’s is directing all future communication on this matter to Marie-Josee Riverin of Riverin Law Firm. Ms. Riverin did not respond to requests for comment by press time. Julie Brock was invited to discuss the matter at a Business Improvement Area (BIA) board meeting. But, in a letter dated November 18th, she declined the opportunity, stating it wasn’t her intent “to involve a third party in these negotiations.” The Township does not know if Brock’s has any plans for the site. Despite the loss of public usage of the eastern portion of the lot, Mayor Drew said “recent studies have shown we do have adequate parking in the downtown, and that is without that parking lot.” Regarding whether talks between the two sides could start back up, Mayor Drew stated the township is “willing to talk to them.” On a separate negotiation note, Mayor Drew also gave The Standard an update on where negotiations are at for a municipal services agreement with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. “We have met with them. I’ve met with them a few times. The CAO, myself and Councillor [Wilma] Wotten, and our clerk J.P. [Newman] met with them before Christmas and we’re hopeful we can come up with an agreement in the near future,” she said.