The latest chapter in the long running saga of the proposed major development on Bark Lake unfolded behind closed doors at a lengthy Special meeting of Madawaska Valley Council (MV) on June 25. It resulted in a resolution, passed unanimously, the wording of which throws some light on the lack of progress in recent years. Above aerial view. Source lakedistrictrealty.com
For those readers unfamiliar with the history, it should first be noted that this proposed development should not be confused with the ongoing development known as Little Bark Bay, which is also located on Bark Lake. This article concerns the development known as the Lakewoods Resort, a project which was first conceived in 1983 by engineer and developer Gary Medwid who, in 2006, incorporated Lakewoods Resort Developments, Inc. (LRDI) as the vehicle for an ambitious upscale lakefront community. He envisioned using the 1,500-acre parcel of land, which includes five kilometres of frontage on the lake, for three phases of residential properties consisting of a total of 88 single family lots. At its heart eventually would be a luxury lakefront hotel and villas, a golf course and a private landing strip.
Planning permission for this development was granted in 2014 and subsequently LRDI announced that 80 percent of the lots in Phase I had been sold. Following this, advancement of the project then became stalled with the result that, in 2018, MV extended the completion date for the Phase I work included in the original 2014 By-law. This involved construction of the roads (Skead Road and Lakewoods Drive) into the development which were to be assumed by MV after completion.
Last week’s MV resolution recites continued failure to complete the roadworks, resulting in LRDI being served with a Notice of Default on July 13 2020. Since then the township has used some of the money from the developer’s performance guarantee to carry out works such as winter snow clearance and sanding, and to tender for the revised scope of the road. However, following this tender process in February 2021, the township rejected the lowest tender because it exceeded the value of the remaining funds in the performance guarantee. The lowest tender was submitted by Bonnechere Excavating Limited (BEI) and was in the amount of $1,798,685.02.
In an attempt to work around this and following receipt of a legal opinion from Cunningham Swan, lawyers, MV Council has decided to negotiate with BEI as a single source supplier by virtue of them having submitted the lowest bid earlier this year. The Resolution concludes by saying: “due to the deteriorating condition of Skead Road and Lakewoods Drive that council for the Township of Madawaska Valley directs staff and the municipal engineer to immediately engage in contract negotiations with BEI for construction of the roadworks to be funded by the performance guarantee and prepare an agreement for council review and approval to allow for road works to proceed promptly.”
It has not been disclosed how much remains of the performance bond which dictates the upper limit that BEI is faced with, as Council also stated in the resolution:
- “And whereas council is not prepared to expend public funds for a private development and is acting in good faith and in the best interests of the taxpayer and the municipality.”
- “And whereas the municipality will not cover any additional cost overruns in excess of the performance guarantee.”
An online search conducted by The Current reveals that the same land is currently being offered for sale by Lake District Realty with an asking price of $12.9 million.