Input sought on repurposing the Mindemoya Old School

Central Manitoulin Old School.

MINDEMOYA – The Municipality of Central Manitoulin is currently conducting a feasibility study on repurposing the Mindemoya Old School.

“There has been a study sent out (mailed) to all residents,” Richard Stephens, mayor of Central Manitoulin told the Recorder. “We want to determine what the public response is and what interest there is in keeping the Old School and repurposing the facility.”

“The sum total is that we have a facility that is solid and many people are very interested in its historical value. But we can’t move forward until we can determine if the public feels we should keep the building, and find a purpose or use for it  in the future. We want to determine what the public interest is in keeping the building and a use for it.”

A Central Manitoulin release explains, “part of this study includes a community needs assessment survey. This needs assessment will help determine the best option for repurposing. As you may be aware, this historical building has been vacant for some years and there are two options: demolish and remove the school or repurpose its use.”

“Any repurposed use would require financial assistance from the federal and provincial governments,” the release notes. “The type of repurposed use would determine which government financial assistance we could be eligible to apply for. Some eligible uses may include: business incubators, high-tech training centre and even a multi-use space.”

“To move forward we need to identify: uses for the multi-use facility; potential tenants for the proposed business incubators (cannot compete against existing businesses); an anchor tenant (cannot compete against existing municipal businesses).

The survey is divided into three parts: section A, demographical data to identify the age group and gender of the respondents; section B, proposed use of the multi-use facility: social gathering needs, training and skills development needs, and business and skills development needs; and section C, potential tenants-business incubator tenants who would usually have a shorter term lease (i.e. one to three years); an anchor tenant who would usually have a longer term lease (i.e. five years) with renewal options.

“Input and feedback from residents is important on the potential usage of the Old School,” the release adds. The deadline to return completed surveys is July 12, 2019. The completion of the feasibility study is expected in August.

At a recent Mindemoya Old School feasibility study committee meeting, Mayor Stephens welcomed the consultant team, Michel Lepage (Axiom) who presented a pre-feasibility study. The committee agreed the next step in the process is finalizing the survey and distributing it for completion. The collection of surveys will be done by the municipal office. The consultant team will do the analysis and incorporate the results in the draft final feasibility study.