Nearly seven years after the tragic collapse of the former Algo Centre Mall, Elliot Lake city council has approved the city's purchase of the land it sat on. Part of the property will later be sold back to the developer the city purchased it from once the land is rezoned.
During an emotional 35-minute special council meeting late Tuesday afternoon, Elliot Lake Council members approved the purchase of the 13-acre site from a numbered company which bought the land earlier this month.
The purchase of the land behind Elliot Lake City Hall for some $900,000 passed on a narrow 4-3 vote. Those in favour included Mayor Dan Marchisella, Councillors Ed Pearce, Tom Turner and Deputy Mayor Luc Cyr. Those against were Councillors Sandy Finamore, Norman Mann and Chris Patrie.
The land will be rezoned with the City of Elliot Lake retaining seven acres once it buys the entire site from the numbered company.
After that is accomplished, Elliot Lake will re-sell five acres of the rezoned land back to the same numbered company for $150,000.
The re-sale is conditional on a covenant that would bind the proponent to build residential and commercial on the land over a set period of time.
The elephant in the room during the meeting was the city's purpose in buying the land.
Marchisella said, after considering 11 possible sites that could be used as a home for the long-sought Elliot Lake Community Hub, the former Algo Centre Mall is the closest to being "shovel ready."
Elliot Lake CAO Daniel Gagnon told council members the bylaw they later passed Tuesday to approve the land transaction, means the deal should close by the middle of next week.