Central accepts tender on feasibility study

Central Manitoulin Old School.

Mindemoya Old School’s potential is the focus

CENTRAL MANITOULIN—The council of the Municipality of Central Manitoulin voted at the Thursday, November 29 final meeting of this council’s term to accept the RFT (tender) submitted by Tulloch Engineering for the Old School Repurposing Committee feasibility study and to proceed with the project, pending FedNor funding.

The Mindemoya Old School is a former continuation school, the first of its kind in the province. After it was declared redundant as a school, the building served as a municipal office and then a business incubation centre for the town. Faced with several reports indicating significant costs to bringing the building up to standard, the municipality had determined to shutter and demolish the building until a community outcry prompted taking a second look at potential new life for the historical edifice and the Old School Repurposing Committee was formed with a mandate to seek out a new purpose for the building. That committee has since received an extension to its terms of reference timeline in order to see what the proposed feasibility study might uncover.

The tender amount of $34,810 plus HST came in considerably below the estimated $50,000 budget the municipality had set for the project, but there was a concern with the Tulloch proposal as it did not specifically include sourcing potential funding applications that would go with any proposed new use for the historical building.

“They haven’t provided that,” confirmed CAO/Clerk Ruth Frawley. “It wasn’t in their proposal.”

“We should require that be included,” said Councillor Alex Baran, who had moved the motion to accept the bid.

“I am not unhappy with that,” suggested Councillor Patricia Macdonald. “It is in the terms of reference for the job. They just didn’t say how they were going to do that.”

“If you don’t know what you are going to use the building for, how are you going to say where you can get the money from?” asked Councillor Derek Stephens. “It will be another study after that which could be $200,000. Where is it going to end?”

“No, they will give us a list of what (the building) could be turned into,” said Ms. Frawley.

“I am not in favour of rejuvenating the Old School,” said Councillor Macdonald, but she added that since council had decided as a group that they would apply for funding for the study she did not feel it would serve any purpose to oppose the motion.

The motion, moved by Councillor Baran and Councillor Linda Farquhar, passed without further discussion.