SCUGOG: Several Scugog councillors recently raised concerns regarding the current progress made on the Old Mill aspect of Port Perry's ongoing waterfront revitalization project.
A monthly update on the project appeared before councillors at last week's general purpose and administration committees meeting this week, outlining advancements made since November. Among those developments included consultations with a number of stakeholders in the waterfront, including the Port Perry Seniors Club (who make use of the Latcham Centre) and Scugog Island Cruises. In addition, consultant T. Harris Environmental Management, Inc., has since been retained to oversee and manage the cleaning of the Old Mill stairwell, the first phase of decontamination in the currently unused portions of the building. According to the report, the stairwell cleaning will be undertaken in the near future following the awarding of the contract this month. A structural audit of the building's timbers and subsequent clean-up of the interior will take place after the stairwell cleaning. Responding to an inquiry by Ward 1 Councillor Larry Corrigan, Planning Director Don Gordon said that staff agreed the best way to inspect the building's interior was to get the bottom-up view through the stairwell as opposed to peeling back a section of the building's exterior for the top-down perspective.
The report, however, raised concerns from several councillors. Ward 5 Councillor Howard Danson questioned a proposal to transfer the remaining cleaning costs (following the stairwell clean-up) to the township's future private sector partner, in a P3 (public-private partnership) arrangement. Councillors and township staff met with representatives from Infrastructure Ontario on Feb. 4 for an information session on undertaking such an initiative.
Mr. Gordon replied that "we want to see the turn out of the stairwell clean up and then see if we can do the rest. It may turn out to be too expensive for us to take on, and then we will see if it's reasonable to transfer that cost to our private partner." Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew questioned the timeline of the project.
"My problem is the time it has taken to get to this point - we've asked for this for several months now and we don't have the stairwell cleaned," said Councillor Drew. "I want to make sure it's done right, but I don't want to wait until next winter."
Scugog Mayor Chuck Mercier echoed the concerns of councillors while addressing the financial considerations of staff in the project.
"The best approach would be to budget $200,000 to do all the work," said the mayor. "We didn't do that because we don't have the money so we're taking small steps and now we're tripping over each step. We hired T. Harris to do assessments on clean ups. We're spending a lot of time on something before we get Harris report. Everyone wants to see this move forward and it's taking some time."