SCUGOG: The municipality recently filed for a Canada 150 Grant in the hopes of receiving $1 million from the Federal government for repairs needed on the Old Mill at the corner of Queen and Water St.
Mayor Tom Rowett offered the opinion that the township has a responsibility to maintain the downtown Port Perry landmark because of its historical value.
“After working with the Heritage Committee and Port Perry Waterfront Committee, it was discovered that the Port Perry grain elevator is one of the oldest in Canada,” he said. “Given this new discovery and the fact that there are only four left in Ontario there is a responsibility to maintain our heritage and do what is in our power to showcase it without putting the brunt of it on the taxpayers.”
However, Ward 4 Councillor Wilma Wotten was skeptical of the decision, and explained that, in her opinion, councillors should have waited before applying for the grant.
“I think that we need to have a good strong plan to move forward for the mill and I don’t feel that we do at this time. Putting more money into it before we know is probably not a good thing,” Councillor Wotten told The Standard.
Mayor Rowett said there are a few things that council and the waterfront steering committee are waiting on before a direction can be decided with regards to the future of the building.
“The reason that there has not been a general direction is because we are waiting for numbers from the structural audit on what the costs will be and what we can do,” he said. “Another concern is that we are waiting for the Region on what they are going to do with the pumping station in the area. If they remove it, that would be a three to five year project.”
Mayor Rowett also stressed that if the project comes at “an absolutely ridiculous cost”, the township will not go through with it.
“There are off ramps available. We don’t want to make it a big cost for taxpayers,” he said.
The Canada 150 grant, which is being offered to upgrade existing community infrastructure in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, is unlike some other grants in that it gives the township two years to decide how they will spend the money.
A previous report called for $3 million in repairs and upgrades on the historic building, which has sat on the shore of Lake Scugog since the 1870s. The Mill was recently painted red in the lead up to last week’s Pan Am Games Torch Relay celebration. Originally, councillors had approved $15,000 in spending on the project. But, recently it was reported by township staff that the project’s cost had increased to $24,617.
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