Kirkland Lake has to figure out a way to collect more than $3M in tax and water arrears
TIMMINS -- The historic town of Kirkland Lake, known as 'The Mile of Gold,' has to come up with a plan on how it's going to collect more than $3 million in property and water tax arrears.
There are currently 801 properties in arrears.
“We need to develop a system where we can go and chase people for money," said Don Studholme, the town's interim chief administrative officer at a recent council meeting.
"Probably the easiest process right now is the water. We used to have a process for water, but it’s been cut out for a little over a year now."
The town recently sold a property it owns -- the Heritage North building, which was once called Hockey Heritage North, a tourist attraction for sports enthusiasts.
"It’s a state-of-the-art building, but unfortunately it doesn’t generate enough revenue to cover the expenses in the year," said Casey Owens, a town councillor.
Money from the $799,000 sale will be put in the town's general fund for now. Owens said a numbered company purchased the building and intends to keep it operating as a conference centre and will honour current bookings.
More than $1.4M needed for upgrades
In the meantime, council also has to figure out how it's going to pay more than $1.4 million for upgrades to a heritage building. The Sir Harry Oakes Chateau, which contains the Museum of Northern History, needs a new roof, among other structural repairs.
"Because it’s a heritage building, it needs to be done following proper procedures," said Owens. "Just can’t go put a new roof on top of it because everything’s tied into the building itself and you have to respect the historic aspect of the building."
The town has written to Ontario Heritage Trust, which owns the building, however, the town is on the hook for maintenance. The town wants to know if together, they can figure out a financial plan to pay for the upgrades.