Questionable transaction to buy a campsite in Godbout

On the north coast, the municipality of Godbout made an offer to purchase a private campground at almost five times the municipal estimate, giving its owner only part of the money.

Camping de l’Estuaire is located at 101 rue Conrad in Godbout. Éric Fraser owns the infrastructure, but he leases almost 80,000 square meters of land to the MRC.

In order to diversify its tourist offer, the municipality of Godbout wanted to buy the campsite in 2021, but without relying on an external market valuation to set the price, according to then general manager Chantale Caron, who has since left the village. .

“The first thing to do is to issue an external mandate to determine the value of the asset that is the subject of our desires. If we don’t go down this path, all the good tracks will slip,” fears Christian-Pierre Côté, authorized appraiser and President of Côté Mercier Conseil Immobilier.

In order to determine the price to be paid for the campsite, the municipality negotiated with its owner. In a resolution passed unanimously on June 29, 2021, we read that the final offer is $240,000. It should be noted that the MRC’s asset valuation of the campsite is $51,700.

“From there to the two, three, four, five times municipal rating, there is at least reason to question ourselves,” remarked Christian-Pierre Côté.

“Troublesomely, this $40,000 figure is roughly or nearly equal to the value of the building on the municipal appraisal list,” argued UQAM professor of community management Danielle Pilette.

“What is driving the gap between the $40,000 and $200,000 that appears at resolution? So asking about the $40,000 bail raises more questions than it answers,” she added.

In order for Godbout to operate the campground in the summer of 2021, elected officials have agreed to pay the owner a $40,000 deposit before June 30. Eric Fraser said he spent to keep the campground running over the summer while the community enjoyed the revenue.

The remainder was due to be paid before the end of the year, but the meeting with the notary scheduled for September was canceled by the municipality, according to campsite owner Éric Fraser and former general manager Chantale Caron. Neither of these two people knows exactly who decided to cancel the appointment to sign a notarial contract.

Estuaire campsite owner Éric Fraser told TVA Nouvelles he still has the $40,000 council check on hand. “I have discussed with my attorneys the possibility of contributing to your investigation and they have advised me not to provide any information about the file, which as you know is not enclosed,” he said, he writes.

“As such, I cannot provide any information or documents that are not currently public. I hope you understand the delicate situation I am currently in,” continued the one who claims to have filed a formal complaint with the municipality in December 2021.

Will Godbout get her money back?

The minutes of public municipal council meetings available online do not indicate whether the municipality intends to reclaim the money.

“If officials don’t bring the issue back on the record, and elected officials don’t ask about it either, maybe we’ll wait until later, until the populace forgets, and then we’d come back with an order that would quash the transaction or part of it.” transaction,” suggested Danielle Pilette.

The mayor of Godbout, Jean-Yves Bouffard, declined our request for an interview, claiming he needed to discuss the case with the community’s law firm before he could speak publicly about it.

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