A crowd gathers at the Minnedosa train for the CP Holiday Train in December 2005, when the town’s heritage committee believed it had secured the station for $1 following a CP announcement.
By Feb. 15, the Minnedosa heritage committee will know if it is the proud new owner of the historic train station in the community.
After what has amounted to years of negotiations, CP tabled an offer to the committee earlier this month that would sell the large brick building to the group and provide the framework for a five-year lease on the land.
The initial lease works out to less than $2,000 per year, according to Brion Pollon, who is a councillor with the RM of Minto and part of the heritage committee.
"I’m not sure if the heritage committee will be willing to offer up that much money for it," he said.
At the moment, the lengthy document is in a lawyer’s hands.
"We have to take our time and make sure we know what we are getting ourselves into there," Pollon said.
Back in 2005, the group believed it had secured the building for $1 after the CP Rail’s Holiday Train stopped in Minnedosa and railway officials made the announcement.
Pollon said on the basis of that announcement, committee volunteers worked to repair the roof, windows and a number of other elements on the building, which was constructed in 1910.
When new management took over the railway in 2009, Pollon said CP told the committee that the deal was no longer available. Since no official agreement was ever signed, the station still belonged to CP.
In 2011, another agreement was presented by CP — this time, the company would lease the building to the committee for a charitable receipt of $1,500 with a number of further stipulations.
After doing its due diligence, the committee was ready to sign the agreement last winter, but CP once again said the deal was off the table.
Now more than eight years after the initial announcement, the heritage committee will decide if it wants to assume ownership of the station and move a seasonal tourism information booth and museum into the building.
"There are still a number of hurdles to jump through and it’s a complex and ever-changing situation," Pollon said.
CP confirmed the new proposal, but "details of the contract are confidential in nature," a spokesman for the company said.
The whole process has left Pollon scratching his head at times, but he’s thankful they will finally come to some resolution soon.
"Some of our people got disgruntled and quit our committee because they were so frustrated," he said. "We haven’t hardly turned a wheel in there since 2008 on account of all of the legal mumbo-jumbo. It’s been nothing but delays and roadblocks thrown up in front of us."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 23, 2014