North Huron council declines offer to purchase Wingham Armouries

·2 min read

WINGHAM – North Huron council declined an offer to purchase the Wingham Armouries building and directed staff to proceed with the demolition in a closed session held during the regular council meeting on March 15.

Kieswetter Demolition Inc. was the successful bidder for the contract, at a price $94,258.60. They were awarded for the demolition work and $17,940 for the paving work that will be done when the tear-down of the building is completed.

The extra funds for the paving work will be taken from the Public Works department’s reserve funds, and staff will make the necessary changes to the 2021 budget.

According to an email from the Clerk Carson Lamb, council directed him to prepare a bylaw and agreement to award the demolition work and the paving work for the April 6 regular council meeting.

Council was presented with three options for the building, choosing Option 3.

Option 3 allows for future considerations, for example, a parking lot versus a new residential property.

The third option also provides council with the ability to move forward with abatement of all hazardous materials, remove building contents, and demolition of the building. The difference between this option and the first two options is that complete removal of all concrete would occur for the footings, ramps, and basement. The entire area that was disturbed would be backfilled, graded, and prepared for future paving.

Options 1 and 2 would restrict the possible uses for future activities for the lot. By leaving part or all of the concrete footing, ramps, and basement in the ground, the potential for re-development of the property would be hindered.

Option 3 enables various commercial or residential possibilities, a staff report to council stated.

This option also allows the township:

- to sell the property for future commercial use;

- to demolish and retain the property for additional parking with electrical charging stations added; and

- residential development could be considered subject to environmental studies being completed.

Staff had been investigating potential spaces for a new location for the Council Chambers. The Town Hall Theatre is currently being used. Still, it has limitations, and a permanent location for the Council Chambers has not been identified.

It is believed that an expansion of town hall may provide a lower cost option to consider that meets accessibility, efficiency, and space issues and solves the Council Chamber issue.

In the 2021 budget, a total of $106,000 was budgeted for costs associated with the Wingham Armouries building’s demolition.

Electrical separation was budgeted at $26,500 and $80,000 for demolition costs.

The report said any additional funds needed could be taken from reserves to offset demolition and remediation costs.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times