Mindemoya Old School repurposing committee applies for funding

Central Manitoulin Old School.

MINDEMOYA—The Mindemoya Old School Repurposing Committee (MOSRC) meeting on August 20 began with a report by Nancy Kinoshameg, Central Manitoulin’s economic development officer (EDO). Ms. Kinoshameg told the members that the application for the FedNor grant had been sent in on August 9. “There were a lot of documents that had to be sent in with the application,” she said. She also added that there is a 12 week waiting period for a reply, so she wasn’t “expecting anything any time soon.”

Committee member Hal Love outlined the progress made on the roof survey, explaining that Jeremy Gordon and others had inspected the roof and stated that it had a couple more years before the structure would be adversely affected. “I guess,” he said, “there is no panic to get the work done on it right now.”
He also explained that the quote received for reshingling would be $22,000 plus HST which was considerably lower than what staff had put together. That amount was for $25,000 for materials only.

Chairperson Ted Williamson commented that he too was in favour of a shingled roof for the Old School building saying, “I agree with putting shingles rather than steel because of liability issues.” Committee members were leery about large amounts of snow falling from a steel roof onto someone below.

Mr. Williamson also raised the question of fundraising. Mayor Richard Stephens responded by saying, “this would be a perfect example to see how support is. This would be a step in the right direction. Contributions would be tax deductible since the municipality owns the building.”

The committee discussed who would do the fundraising and Alex Baran suggested that this should be postponed until the feasibility study is done.

Mr. Love also mentioned that the committee needs a commitment from the municipality that the building would not be torn down in the next five years and reminded members that there is Manitoulin Transport money for the school to the tune of $10,000 a year for five years. Councillor Baran suggested that perhaps the fundraising could go dollar-to-dollar with this donation.

As a point of interest, Mr. Williamson asked: “if the building is torn down, what would be done with the land?” Mayor Stephens replied, “it would be incorporated into the park.”
Talk then turned to the situation of the committee’s mandate with Mr. Williamson in favour of asking council for a year’s extension. The mandate is scheduled to end on November 30, with the committee’s final report to council to be no later than October 18.

Councillor Baran agreed with this, saying, “I think it would be wise to ask for an extension of the mandate.”

The MOSRC also has to deal with the costs of the removal of any hazardous materials in the building. This would certainly mean asbestos management, the meeting was told. Ms. Kinoshameg reported that some testing for this material has already been done and that the property committee had also checked for asbestos. “Substances have to be tested when doing renovations,” she said.

Mr. Love also spoke of the hazardous material saying, “it is much more extensive than the original tear-down proposal. Tulloch drew attention to this. There is a legal responsibility to know what is in the building, whether it is a tear-down or remedial. You have to know what is in the building and removal has to be done according to legislation and the protection of workers. It is a substantial cost whether you demolish or renovate.” He also noted that there is asbestos in the ceiling and floor tiles.

Mr. Williamson responded to this saying that the pipes would be the biggest concern. “Floor tiles would be okay,” he said, adding that most of the floors are hardwood. He went on to speak of his experience in this matter with his employment at Inco and then asked if there is a place at the Providence Bay dump for materials such as asbestos. “As long as the material is buried,” he said, “that is all that has to be done.”

Mr. Love then noted that the new ceilings would not have asbestos but that rods and pipes would have to be removed, so then they would go to forced air.

When setting a date for the next meeting, Councillor Baran reminded the group that they report to the property and economic development committee and that committee reports to council. Thus they should meet before that committee does. Mayor Stephens suggested that the members have a delegation attend the property meeting.

The September meeting of council would see MOSRC ask for the extension of their mandate, with Councillor Baran saying that this is a reasonable request and that the group should have an overview in place to show everything they did so council can see what was done and what was done away with.