Bayham mayor Paul Ens, acting deputy mayor, Wayne Casier and staff from the municipality recently sat down with the Elgin Military Museum to discuss progress on Project Ojibwa and obtain an update on its financial situation.
“We met with a couple of members of the board of directors and the Elgin Military Museum,” said Ens. “We just went over some questions and we wanted to get more open dialogue going with the Elgin Military Museum, as to what their intentions are.
“We’ve been busy with the move, so we just wanted to keep apprised what their status is, what their plans are for the future and see how the project is going along.”
In the meeting on January 16, 2013, Ens pointed out that there were several questions asked of the Elgin Military Museum, due in part to concerns raised throughout the municipality.
“When we went to that meeting, we explained that Bayham definitely has concerns,” Ens told council and residents at last Thursday’s council meeting. “Our residents are concerned and council is concerned about the whole outcome or progress of this project. We still feel it’s a good project, but with Bayham being a guarantor, we need to get more frequent answers and more complete answers.”
Ens said that museum officials understand those concerns and are working to acquire more information. For example, one item that they hope to present at some point in the future is a consolidated list of all the expenses.
Bayham resident Richard Wood is a concerned citizen, and was at last Thursday’s council meeting. He made a deputation to council regarding the project and expressed his feelings of uncertainty with a number of questions to council. One of them pertained to the overall cost of Project Ojibwa.
“Sir, do you know how much the total cost to get the sub there (to Port Burwell) is?” he inquired.
Mayor Ens replied “Yes, it’s approximately $8 million dollars, including HST and GST.”
Wood then questioned how the Elgin Military Museum would handle the unexpected extra $2 million dollar cost, and whether or not that extra money was considered in their financial plan.
Ens reassured Wood and others at Thursday’s council meeting that is indeed the case.
“This is what they (the museum) mentioned at the meeting last week – was that they talked to their bank and the bank has no problem with them doing that funding. They talked about it and the bank was more than willing, based on their business plan, to extend them additional monies,” Ens explained.
The project itself now has an approximate price tag of $8 million dollars noted Ens but is a cost that will be borne and sustained by the Elgin Military Museum.
“The Municipality of Bayham guaranteed a loan for up to six million dollars so the project is actually costing more than six million,” he said. “But we’re not guaranteeing anything more than what we’ve originally set out to do, which was the six million dollars.”
Ens stressed this to council and those in attendance, to provide clarity on the financial situation and ensure everyone had the correct facts.
“We’re not making any payments, we haven’t given out six million dollars – (acting as) guarantor is only in the event that the Elgin Military Museum may default in loan payments to the bank, then at that point Bayham would have to make some payments or come up with some other arrangements.”
Despite the apparent increase in overall cost to Project Ojibwa, Ens said he and those at the meeting were pleased with what they heard, and thought the meeting was productive and informative.
“Their business plan is good and the bank is happy with their business plan,” said Ens. “It would have been ideal to get notification that they’ve got all fundraising in place to take care of the entire cost, but from the meeting - we got all the answers that we were looking for.”
The questions posed by the municipality and answers to them from the Elgin Military Museum in that meeting, have been published and can be found on the Municipality of Bayham’s website at www.bayham.on.ca.