I do get questions. Questions will be posted as I get them. Here are some usual questions and answers that I hope will help.


Commonly asked Petrolia questions that I field on a regular basis. They are presented here as asked. Obviously at the time I answer the person or persons but there are probably others with the same query.


What is up with the big mansion on the hill called the Fairbank Mansion. Isn’t Heritage or the Town involved with it? Why isn’t the Mansion designated?

·         The mansion is owned privately by a family who intend to restore the home at some point. It is theirs and has nothing to do with the Town or Heritage. All attempts to establish some sort of relationship with the family and Heritage or the Town have always been unsuccessful.

Why is Discovery in such bad shape and the boardwalk and other buildings gone or in failing condition? What are the Town and or Heritage doing about it? Why doesn’t the Town of Petrolia do more to help Discovery?


·         Discovery is managed by a Charitable Foundation and is not affiliated with Heritage or the Town of Petrolia.

·          Discovery has been managed by the same group for over a decade and continues to falter with unexpected problems rooted in their own management problems and unfortunate accidents and other multiple problems. The bulk of revenue for Discoveries’ operation is garnered from the many oil wells on site and various funding functions. However when the group takes one step forward they usually end up taking a few steps backward. Several years ago an unfortunate oil spill reached Bear Creek and the resulting cleanup cost well into six figures. The group still hinges on this incident to explain today’s problems. Instead of moving on, the group seems to hold onto ancient history to explain today’s problems.  

·         Myself and a Municipal councillor and Town CAO had a meeting with the current paid manager and board director of Discovery. At this meeting (December 2013) Discovery went through all of the past problems that they feel to be the reasons for current problems at Discovery. During this meeting the Town CAO offered to take on the Discovery site totally with full responsibility for operations and production. The Town would basically take over the site. This seemed to be a logical answer and conclusion to over a decade of continuous decline. As of June 2014 we have yet to hear back. The current paid manager stated at this meeting that she had taken on not only managerial responsibilities but also the running of the oil fields.

·         It is true that some criticize the Town for not supporting Discovery. However under the Municipal Act it is impossible to assist any group (with Town funds) unless they come forward to Town Council and present a budget. They must request in advance and possibly be included in the future budget. During a previous meeting (July 2012) with Discovery paid manager and Board Director your editor suggested this approach and Discovery never attended a Council meeting to request assistance, give a report, or request to become a budget item.

·         The Petrolia Discovery is a gem that needs to be protected. There are many who criticize the Town and Heritage for not helping. Hopefully the above helps with the common questions.

·         The most important thing that people from the area must understand is that the Discovery site is more important than any one person, board, committee or group. The site buildings and artifacts must be protected.

UPDATE: As of June 2015 under new management Discovery has entered into a new agreement with the Town of Petrolia. Petrolia will provide maintenance and other services and local Oil Men have returned to get things going again. Town staff at all levels will lend expertise and assist where required. New volunteers are donating time and fixing long term problems from clutter to repairing toilets and holding tanks. These are dramatic turns of events that have happened immediately as intelligent and proactive new management has stepped in. As your editor has mentioned in the past all Discovery needed was simple communication with the Town. Also a Petrolia Council member and Heritage member are now part of the Board of Directors! Your editor has even seen Discovery reps at Town council meetings! How refreshing. Great things are happening at Discovery! (finally)

Why are some Downtown buildings in such rough condition? What can be done to get these buildings in a better state of repair?

·         There are some buildings in Petrolia’s Downtown that do require some repair and maintenance. In some cases owners are local and in others they are out of town. In all cases these are privately owned buildings and unless a hazard to citizens or environment there is little to be done. For about 16 years Petrolia has had a Façade Grant Program that many Downtown owners have participated in. However to garner this grant one has to come forward with the initial capital and desire to actually do the work. In the last few years we have had little participation in this program so that part of the budget was cut and sadly a few applications for the Façade Grant Program were not successful. However solutions to this problem are currently being looked at.

What is the Designated Property Tax Relief Program?

If a Designated property owner applies for the Tax Incentive they will receive a 10% property tax grant. Most Designated Property owners enjoy this program and a printable form resides on this website.

Who is on the Heritage Committee?

I will refer this item to the Town Of Petrolia website 'Committees Page'

Why is the Town so stiff on signs in the Downtown?

It only takes a short search on the internet of other Ontario towns and cities and you will see that Petrolia did not invent the sign bylaw. Especially towns that promote a vital tourist agenda. Actually Petrolia's sign bylaws are quite tame by other town's standards. Don't take my word for it look it up.











Email Martin at martyd@ebtech.net