By Gordon Lambie
The project to reinvent the St. Pat’s camp in Stoke as a retreat and training centre for para-athletics is dead in the water following conflict between the Fondation Papillion and the municipality over a gravel pit located on the property.
According to Jean Fabi, a partner and principal fundraiser for the initiative, the crux of the issue relates to the matter of royalties from the use of the gravel.
The gravel pit, installed on the site between 2002 and 2005 by a construction company as a part of a previous attempt to sell the land, was in the way of the training centre project. Recognizing the stone as something that has value, Fabi said that the foundation made an arrangement with the contractor in charge of creating the site’s new access road to trade 257,000 tonnes of gravel for the work, an agreement that that they understood to be royalty free.
“We wanted to be totally transparent,” Fabi said, explaining that the agreement was made with the knowledge of the municipality, and with regular tonnage reports being made to the local council.
Where Fabi said that he believed that the municipality had initially agreed that an exchange of gravel for services rendered would eliminate those royalties, the Mayor, Luc Cayer, argued that the council was always expecting the money.