Letter: Friends of the Old School shocked at reversed decision

It is unfortunate that opinions can’t be set aside for an open and honest approach

To the Expositor:

Following the Central Manitoulin Property Committee meeting on May 12, we, Friends of Mindemoya Old School (FOMOS), felt confident we had received a reasonable extension to complete and provide their business plan to repurpose the Mindemoya Old School. However, 48 hours later the request was denied with council members quoted as saying “it was too early to request an extension.”

We believe we had made a well-balanced and resourceful presentation. 

FOMOS and a contractor were denied entry into the Mindemoya Old School for almost eight weeks due to apparent COVID-19 provincial restrictions. This visit was essential in determining costs involved in renovating, remediating and restoring the building and to prepare the financial portion of the business plan that the property committee requested. The request was simple and fair. FOMOS asked for an eight-week extension, which equaled the amount of time lost during lockdown. Even though the motion to accept this request was passed at the property committee meeting, the majority of councillors apparently did not find it acceptable at the council meeting where they voted not to accept the motion.

FOMOS board of directors’ main concerns lie with the predetermined fate of the building being demolished. 

Councillor Derek Stephens made it quite clear once again that he is ‘dead set’ against the school. This makes our journey even more complex as opinions have already been formed and seem to favour the idea of demolition.

It is very unfortunate that opinions cannot be set aside for a more open and honest approach to the repurposing proposal. This building has stood proudly for 100 years this year and it would be a tragedy to lose what little heritage we have left in this community. The quest in considering the future of this school should not involve any individual opinions, it should be neutral, weighing all aspects of the proposal from FOMOS when it is completed. 

Friends of Mindemoya Old School