MINDEMOYA – Friends of the Mindemoya Old School has officially incorporated with intentions of saving the Old School from demolition. The new corporation is affiliated with the Ontario Historical Society.
“As a not-for-profit corporation, we are now a legal entity able to enter into contracts,” says Jan McQuay, president of Friends of the Mindemoya Old School. “We will now approach the Central Manitoulin council with two viable options to consider to give this historically-significant building a new life. Our corporation is prepared to either take ownership of the Old School, or to enter into a long-term lease which would allow us to refurbish and repurpose it.”
This process has been welcomed in many communities across Ontario where municipalities have felt burdened with historical sites, even though they recognize that there is value in protecting heritage buildings. When these buildings become the property of independent corporations not tied to the public purse, councillors and community members need not be concerned about possible tax increases. The corporations take over the responsibility of transforming historic buildings into vibrant hubs of activity.
“This solution has worked elsewhere and it can work here,” said Ms. McQuay. “It is our hope that council will rescind their decision to demolish the building and recognize the possibilities that our non-profit corporation offers for the community. As a community group with no official standing, we could do very little other than advocate for the Old School. Now, as a legal entity, we are stepping up, and we hope the municipality will come to the table to negotiate an agreement.”
Becoming a not-for-profit corporation allows for the application of many federal and provincial grants as well as membership. “This would allow the Friends of the Mindemoya Old School to develop a well-rounded sustainable building business plan which we hope to include seniors, art, culture, and business,” a Friends press release noted.