Old Walkerton armoury building rezoned for use as law office

BROCKTON – Council approved a bylaw amendment to change the zoning on the old armoury building to permit its use for a law office with accessory apartment.

The planning report presented by the county stated the proposed use represents efficient use of the existing property. It’s in keeping with other uses in the area.

The building has been designated by the municipality under the Ontario Heritage Act. The elements of heritage value are the exterior of the structure and the interior staircase. The proposed use does not involve any changes to the exterior of the building or to significant features within the building. As stated in the planning report, any renovations required for the proposed use as an office and apartment would need to conform with the Ontario Heritage Act.

The municipality has reviewed the site plan and has indicated it has no concerns.

The armoury building was constructed in 1908. It is historically significant because it was constructed “in an effort to reinforce the idea of nation-building prior to the Great War by creating a space for militia training and armament.”

Faced with the need for extensive and costly work on the building, including replacing the heating system and ongoing maintenance, the fact the building is not accessible and could not easily be made accessible, and the fact the municipality had no future use for it, council made the difficult decision to declare the building surplus.

The armoury closed in 1967. In recent years, the armoury building has housed a daycare centre, after which it sat vacant for six years. More recently, it housed the GROW rooted in love Maternity Home’s TREE House project.

There had been a number of suggestions made for repurposing the building including using it to house the military history collection that’s currently at the fire hall and in the basement of the library, or turning it into a seniors’ centre, something that’s needed in the area. The decision was finally made to list the building and sell it.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times