Mindemoya’s Old School friends get building lease

Central Manitoulin Old School.

Agreement conditional on finding sustainable funding

CENTRAL MANITOULIN – Friends of the Mindemoya Old School (FOMOS) are one step closer to the dream of preserving the historical stone building following a decision by Central Manitoulin council instructing staff to prepare a conditional lease of the building to the citizen-led non-profit corporation.

The motion from the property committee that “staff be directed to create a contract document for the conditional lease of the Mindemoya Old School building between the municipality and the FOMOS” was moved by Councillor Derek Stephens and seconded by Councillor Steve Shaffer. The recommendation from the property committee was also moved by Councillor Stephens, but seconded by Councillor Rose Diebolt.

Councillor Shaffer noted that the motion clarifies his earlier position that the extension of the deadline for FOMOS to come up with the funding and sustainable business plan to April not be worded in such a way as to preclude an earlier agreement. “I believe a negotiated lease agreement should be in place as soon as possible,” he said.

“The funding wouldn’t be coming if they didn’t have a lease,” agreed Mayor Richard Stephens. 

“I fully support this,” said Councillor Stephens. “It is needed to help the group access funding. I want to emphasize that this lease is conditional on them (FOMOS) getting the funding. It is not a blanket where they can enter the building and so on—this is to help them with their business plan.”

The motion passed without dissent.

“We are delighted,” said FOMOS spokesperson Alison McAllister. “Everything is going in the right direction. All the planets have aligned, now we have gotten to the point of negotiating a lease, a conditional lease, but that is to be expected.”

Ms. McAllister agreed that “no granting agency or other organization is going to give you money unless they are sure that you have secured the location. This is an investment a government or company is making; obviously they need security as well.”

She noted FOMOS has a great deal of expertise on board in their organization and links to several other historical or non-profit organizations, “so we know what a lease would look like,” she said. “We are willing to assist the municipality in sharing that knowledge.