RM of Piapot council continues to work through the process of selling the property that previously served as the Piapot school.
Council briefly touched on the sale during their regular meeting last week. Documents have been presented to a lawyer to determine the next steps in the process. “All the information has been sent to our lawyer and we say, ‘OK, where do we go from here? How do we proceed?'” explained Reeve John Wagner. The sale of the former Piapot school property has been a hot topic since council reviewed tenders for its purchase in January. It was then the majority of council members voted to accept an offer from Matthew Udal for $51,111.15. Before the property was repossessed by the RM for tax arrears, the RM had discussions with Weiss Gallery stakeholders Barry Weiss and Carolyn and Don Beveridge regarding the purchase. Weiss Gallery’s 2008 proposal detailed an artist retreat that would be created on the property, and the gallery would buy the land, including the school, outbuildings and grounds, at current market value. It submitted a bid of $53,878 for the property, which was rejected in favour of Udal’s bid. Documents have now been presented to council by the Beveridges regarding their communications with the RM since talks of purchasing it began in 2008. Weiss Gallery has put money into the property over the years to renovate and preserve it. Wagner said this amount will be reimbursed to Weiss, which was always the agreement. “We’re looking at all the stuff (Beveridges) presented to us,” Wagner said. “Council has voted to accept (Udal’s bid), and now we’re trying to move along that process. In order to move along that process, we have to send this to our lawyer to figure out how we do this to be fair to everybody. That includes all the motions that have been made in the past in all this – it goes right back to the start… of the school.” Following council’s decision to accept the lesser tender, the Beveridges indicated they would take legal action. But Wagner said council has not received any notice of this.