Staff Recommends Accepting Harbour Divestiture photo of Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley at Sarnia's government dock. (Photo by Melanie Irwin)

Ottawa has stepped forward offering $8.5-million for a clean transfer in ownership of Sarnia Harbour to the city.

In a report to council Monday, city staffs recommend accepting the divestiture as long as several conditions are met.

Mayor Mike Bradley says the funds will cover maintenance and legal fees.

Last December, the federal government had offered only $5-million, saying pre-transfer funding would be extended to pay for sediment testing, an asbestos management plan and an environmental legal review. Then, $33-million in funding over two years to extend the divestiture program was included in the federal budget February 11.

Transport Canada has advised that should the city decide in favour of ownership, it would be best to do so in this fiscal year.