This communiqué is being forwarded on behalf of HMCS Bytown, Inc. regarding the upcoming AGM that will include discussions regarding the future options of the Naval Officers’ Mess.
Major issues are of concern to the NAC-Ottawa branch include:
1. The potential termination of the current arrangement with the mess in terms of holding our various meetings and social events. The costs of another venue or venues is very likely to be higher than we have enjoyed to date, which will have a financial impact;
2. The potential loss of a venue with such a strong naval atmosphere will impact negatively on the NAC objectives to recognize and preserve Canada’s maritime heritage, and the expression of naval camaraderie and mutual assistance; and
3. The need either to find another location for the MacK Lynch Library or to dispose of this unique collection of naval history.
I encourage all who enjoy the mess and camaraderie it affords to make their opinions known either by email or in person at the HMCS Bytown Inc. Annual General Meeting as the outcome has the potential to significantly impact on NAC Ottawa Branch’s operations. Questions or concerns as they pertain to the status update of Bytown are to be directed to the following: Scott Healey: firstname.lastname@example.org Nick Leak: email@example.com
HMCS Bytown Update
1. To provide the membership with an update on the current status of discussions with DND;
2. To provide the membership with the options available to Bytown; and
3. To seek opinions from the membership on how the Board might consider proceeding.
78 Lisgar and the Naval Officers’ Mess (Mess) have been the principal gathering place for naval officers in the NCRfor over 75 years. However, the property at 78 Lisgar is not aDND asset, but a wholly independent entity separate from the Naval Officers’Mess.The property at 78 Lisgar is legally owned by HMCS Bytown Incorporated (Bytown),a not-for-profit Ontario registered corporation incorporated in 1943, and is leased by the Mess.
The relationship between the Mess and Bytown has benefitted both parties over the years.The lease between the Naval Officers’ Mess and Bytown has been in effect since 1986; asmall amendment was made in 1991. The Mess subsequently has a MOU with DND to deal with the funding necessary to operate and maintain the Mess as per the lease conditions. However, as a result of changing circumstances the relationship in its current structure is not sustainable to all parties and will need to be resolved. Subsequently, Bytown informally approached DND with the following:
1. Negotiate a new lease; and
2. Purchase 78 Lisgar for fair market value.
DND would neitherenter into negotiations nor accept either of the above.
Bytown submitted a proposal to DND in June 2018 to Deed to Gift the property with conditionsinserted to ensure that the Mess could remain at 78 Lisgar for a period of time. Additionally, specific expenses were to be reimbursed that would allow Bytown to dissolve as a corporation. DND refused to accept the majority of the conditions.
Bytown, the Messand DND have continued with subsequent discussions. The result has been to refine Bytown’s available options to:
1. Deed to Gift 78 Lisgar to DND with no conditions.
· With the transfer of 78 Lisgar to DND with no conditions Bytown will receive no financial benefit from this transaction
· While Bytown will have no mandate nor reason to remain active, and could then be dissolved as a corporationif all debts are cleared;
2. Terminate the Naval Officers’ Mess lease and sell the property outright.
· DND will be required to secure a new location for the Naval Officers’Mess.
· Assets from the sale of the property will be dispersed at the discretion of the Board in accordance with the Bytown by-laws; and
3. Terminate the Naval Officers’ Mess lease and negotiate a joint developmentarrangement with a developer.
· 78 Lisgar will be developed in partnership with Bytown.
· Bytown will have an option of maintainingan equity position in the property.
Bytown wants to keep the Naval Officers’ Mess at 78 Lisgar in a manner that is financially responsible and respects the extant heritage represented by the property.
All opinions from the membership with respects to this issue will be taken with the utmost consideration and respect by the board. Note that in accordance with the Act, resolutions and motions from the membership are not binding on the Board.
The Bytown Board will meet within two weeks on the conclusion of the AGM to consider the opinions of the members and the facts at hand to determine a way ahead