News — 11 April 2012
Optimism sparking residential sales in Ignace

Ignace Councillor Alan Graver stands beside one of the fire hydrants installed in the Great Lakes subdivision in Ignace during the late 1970s. Only a few lots along Superior Street were developed but water and sewer services were extended to two other streets. Photo submitted

Submitted by Doug Pronger

Property sales in Ignace more than doubled from 13 residential sales in 2010 to 27 in 2011, according to the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board.

Figures released by the Board’s President, Diane Erickson, show sales in Ignace in 2011 ranged in price from $7,800 to $165,000 and included 3 waterfront properties. Sales in 2010 ranged in price from $11,500 to $184,000 and included 2 waterfront properties

Ignace Council is encouraging new optimism in the community by recently advertising its surplus properties. The initiative generated 19 expressions of interest to purchase property.

“I think that the new show of confidence has a lot to do with the community’s prospects in the forestry and mining sectors,” says Township Councillor Alan Graver. “Wagner Forest Management has hired a contractor to put in a road to their future wood pellet plant site and Resolute Forest Products is submitting environmental applications for the Ignace sawmill. It just makes economic sense to make it happen in Ignace – Ignace is in the middle of the wood basket and Resolute has company facilities in Fort Frances and Thunder Bay that can handle chips and other by-products.”

Bending Lake Iron Group is another rising star on the horizon if investor interest continues and the company’s environmental applications are approved. The mining company is promoting their future iron mine south west of Ignace.

Housing won’t be a problem for Ignace, Graver says.

“Council has designated strategic properties in the community that would be opened up to development when industry comes looking,” he says.

“We have a 15-acre piece of land in town that is already surveyed into 113 lots. Forty-four of those lots have easy access to water and sewer services but individual lots themselves aren’t serviced. At some point in time we’ll be asking housing developers to submit proposals on how they might want to invest in the community.”

In the late 1970s when the Falconbridge and Noranda Mines were operating near Ignace the Township created a new subdivision plan for five streets named after the Great Lakes. Over the last 35 years a forest of jack pine has grown up around the fire hydrants and manhole covers. The subdivision access road has narrowed to sandy trails that seem to lead nowhere.

Housing for seniors is also on Council’s development agenda, says Ignace Mayor Lee Kennard.

“A buoyant housing market would give our seniors a chance to sell their homes to the people working in industry,” Kennard says. “Ignace is just about the only place in northwestern Ontario that doesn’t have housing for seniors and we’d like to change that. We have a lot of seniors in Ignace and just over the past few years people are also choosing Ignace as a place to retire. I’ve met four couples who have purchased retirement homes in the past two years.”

Kennard’s optimism for his community is heartfelt and close to home.

“A physician who works regularly as a locum at the Mary Berglund Community Health Centre purchased the house next door to me in Ignace in January,” Kennard says. “And what my industry contacts are telling me is that all their plans are still a “go” and it’s just a matter of working out the details over the next year and a half.”

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Chris Marchand is a native of Dryden, Ontario. He served his first newspaper internship at The Dryden Observer in 1998 while attending journalism studies at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C. He's worked desks as both reporter and editor at the Fernie Free Press as well as filled the role of sports editor at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Marchand was named editor of the Dryden Observer in Aug. 2009.

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