In March 2021, the Municipality started marketing the public lands to “maximize profits”, and to promote development.
A Little History
Many in our community have fond memories of skiing and gathering at the old Talisman Resort built on farmland in 1963 and which operated until 2011. Two years ago, owners defaulted on water and tax bills, and ownership of 133.8 acres shifted to the Municipality of Grey Highlands.
Yellow outlines show where the Municipality of Grey Highlands is promoting development on agricultural lands on the top of the escarpment (first image) and on the golf course at the bottom (second image).
At this point the Friends of the Beaver Valley, a local group, mobilized the community arguing for environmental protection and public access to the public lands.
The Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy made an offer to purchase the public lands, but in July 2021, behind closed doors and without proper process, the Municipality conditionally sold the public land to developers, ignoring overwhelming opposition from citizens and taxpayers. Then in February 2022, Council finalized the deal, revealing that it sold the golf course portion (75 acres) for $1 million and the upper agricultural lands (59 acres) for $1.5 million. This is $275 thousand less than the offer from the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy.
As of June 2022, when the sale closed, there are 2 owners with different visions. The Municipality has no plans to lead the planning process allowing developers to dictate the future of the entire area.