Council approves Mountainview demolition 0
COLLINGWOOD — The Mountainview's fate is sealed.
On Monday night, councillors approved a bid of $249,000 — plus HST — to take down the former iconic hotel at the corner of Huron and Hurontario to make way for a fifth lane on Huron.
Councillors agreed last month to buy a 10 metre swath of the land from owner Larry Dunn for $600,000 in order to add the lane. Municipal officials are in the process of negotiations with Ministry of Transportation officials to be reimbursed most of the funding, as the road is considered a provincial highway connecting link — and is therefore eligible for 90% funding from the province.
However, while the building — some parts of which date back to 1865 — is neither historically designated, or is within the boundaries of the downtown heritage district, at least one councillor on Monday was suggesting the town may need to conduct an archaeological assessment.
Councillor Ian Chadwick also asked municipal staff to take care and ensure any time capsules or cornerstones are uncovered.
"We should ask the company (undertaking the demolition) to just keep an eye open and collect anything of historical value," he said.
The town's director of planning, Nancy Farrer, said archaeological assessments are usually conducted when it's a situation that involves a vacant parcel of property.
The building itself, she said, may not have much remaining of heritage value.
"There are mould and asbestos issues, and what's in the the building has been severely impacted by what's been happening over the years," Farrer told councillors, adding if there is anything left in the building that is of heritage value that hasn't been destroyed, there will an attempt to remove it properly.
"That's probably the best we can do," she said.
A new building, she said, would require a heritage impact assessment because of its proximity to the downtown heritage district.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, areas of archaeological potential are areas of a property that could contain archaeological resources — and would therefore be subject to an archaeological assessment.
The criteria includes the presence of a water source within 300 metres of the property, and its proximity to historic transportation routes such as roads or railways.
An assessment can be triggered by a housing subdivision and other land development projects, or public development projects such as highway or road construction.
An assessment would determine if there are any archaeological resources on the land being developed, and determine the degree of cultural heritage value — as well as the most appropriate way to conserve any archaeological resources.
The Mountainview has been closed to public access for the last three years, and is under orders from both the Collingwood Fire Department and the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit. In a presentation late last month, Collingwood's fire chief Trent Elyea said he would not permit anyone entering the building without wearing protective gear.
In a report to council on Monday, engineer Brian MacDonald presented the findings of an environmental consultant who determined there were a number of potential hazards, including asbestos, lead paint, and mould; the report estimates there is 30,000 square feet of asbestos-containing material, including plaster, and floor tiles. The bid — from OSC Constructors — was the lowest of five tenders for the demolition work; the prices ranged from $250,000, up to more than $660,000.
It's expected the building would come down by Sept. 16.
The money to pay for the demolition will come from the town's land acquisition reserve fund, with the remainder borrowed from the wastewater reserve fund; those funds would be reimbursed once provincial funding was received.