The Village of Merrickville-Wolford is in the process of transferring ownership of the land that houses the Merrickville District Community Health Centre (MDCHC) to the Rideau Community Health Services (RCHS).
According to Jacques Pelletier, the Chair of the RCHS, this is a good news story. The land that the Health Centre sits on has been leased by the RCHS from the municipality for $1 per year since the building was built 20 years ago. “The reason why RCHS wants to officially own the land it occupies is the problem of owning a $2 million building on a property it doesn’t own,” Jacques says. Should the building need upgrades in the future, it will be easier to secure funding from the government or private lenders if the RCHS owns the land on which the building sits, he says.
Council officially agreed to the land transfer in June and, since then, the process has been under way. It was discovered that, to transfer the land to the RCHS, the property needed to be severed. The request has therefore gone to the Consent Granting Authority of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. “Typically, the consent to sever process, assuming no appeals to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, would take about three months,” says Merrickville-Wolford Chief Building Official, Randy Wilkinson. “The applicant would then have up to one year to fulfil any conditions of the severance approval.” It has been decided that the RCHS will continue to lease the parking lot from the Municipality for $1 per year, as it is a separate parcel of land that they share with the Merrickville Community Centre.
Jacques says this is a corporate “loose end” that he and Executive Director Peter McKenna were hoping to tie up before the end of their terms. “It’s another way to anchor the Health Centre in the Village,” he says. “As it now stands, the issue is in the process of being settled, and I expect normal delays to bring closure in a few months. This is longer than we had hoped for, but we are satisfied that the process is initiated with the support of Council.”