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Aug. 15, 2020 | Saturday
Local News
No truth to late rent payment rumours, say town officials
As Parks Canada owns some sites in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the town has to pay rent to Parks. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

The town doesn’t owe Parks Canada any outstanding rental fees, a municipal official confirmed Monday.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero had asked if the town was up-to-date with paying rent to Parks Canada at the special committee of the whole budget meeting on Jan. 11.

Sheldon Randall, the town’s director of operations, said for the past couple of years the town has not been consistent with making a payment. Lord Mayor then proceeded to say how she had been told that the town has “paid sometimes and haven’t paid other times.”

But the talk about unpaid fees was just an unsubstantiated rumour, said Victoria Steele, the town’s community engagement coordinator.

“The Lord Mayor had been told a rumour that the Town had been inconsistent on rent payments to Parks Canada. At the committee of the whole meeting on Friday she asked the director of operations to look into the situation,” said Steele in an email to The Lake Report. “The treasurer has looked into the situation and contacted Parks Canada. There is no truth to the rumour and there is no outstanding money owed.”

When The Lake Report asked Disero about her remark, she confirmed it was a rumour and she didn’t remember where she’d heard it.

Parks Canada also commented on the situation.

“Parks Canada owns seven national historic sites in the Niagara region, collectively known as the Niagara National Historic Sites,” said Rae Kingdon, public relations and communications officer at Parks Canada. “These sites reflect the region’s nationally significant military heritage and include Fort George, Butler’s Barracks, Fort Mississauga, Queenston Heights, Navy Island, Mississauga Point Lighthouse and the Battlefield of Fort George. We also own culturally significant lands adjacent to some of these sites.”

“Parks Canada maintains a good relationship with the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. They have agreements in place with our Agency and have honoured them.

“We are aware of the rumour circulating that the Town has been inconsistent on rent payments to Parks Canada and can confirm that there is no truth to this rumour and that there are no outstanding payments owed,” said Kingdon.

The Lake Report also asked Randall to provide some comments.

“We’re in the process of formalizing and changing terms with Parks Canada. It will be coming in a few months,” he said.

Kyle Freeborn, the town’s treasurer, said he hasn’t looked into the situation yet but he wasn’t aware of any late payments.

“If there were any outstanding fees owed, we would have to pay them. The town has obligations.”