The city appears to be the only interested party thus far in purchasing the now-defunct travel centre on Brookdale Avenue - and many councillors are wringing their hands in anticipation.
But if the city does purchase it, those hands may be tied on just what it can do with the property.
A report to city council debated Monday night details the fact that the building and land would have to be used solely for municipal purposes, if Cornwall were to buy it.
Many councillors are suggesting the city should purchase it – despite the fact that the province has yet to say just how much they want for it.
That raised some red flags with Coun. Denis Carr, who suggested the city might be putting the cart before the horse on this one.
“It’s not going to be cheap,” he said.
Economic development manager Mark Boileau agreed the property is likely to be heavily coveted by the private sector, given its strategic placement on a busy city thoroughfare.
Coun. Syd Gardiner said the city would be well-served by purchasing the property and maintaining its previous use as a tourism information centre.
He pointed to statistics that suggest several thousand people were missed when the province closed the facility this year.
He pointed to 2011 when 50,000 people were served at information centre. The local tourism office that was used to supplement the facility this year – headquartered at the former local tourism authority’s headquarters on Water Street – saw just 1,000 people.
“We need to look at buying this,” said Gardiner. “We’re missing people coming through here.”
The city has had correspondence with the Ministry of Infrastructure, acknowledging its interest.
A ministry official says the city is the only public-sector party which has shown an interest. The property won't be available for purchase until the spring of 2013, says the report, as the ministry needs time to complete an environmental review, survey and title search of the land.
The travel centre next to the traffic circle on Brookdale Avenue was closed earlier this year as part of provincial budget cuts.
A specific cost for the facility has not been made public.