BLAKE WOLFE The Standard
SCUGOG: Scugog Township will move onto the next phase of the Port Perry waterfront revitalization in the near future by preparing for a scheduled clean-up of the Old Mill, in anticipation of the long-standing structure's future use.
Recently, councillors approved a staff recommendation which will see T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. retained to oversee the cleaning of the building's interior, a long-time roost for pigeons, raccoons and other animals. Three companies have expressed interest in bidding on the cleaning contract, said the report.
The cost for retaining the environmental consultant is being capped at $4,400, taxes excluded.
The report explains that the clean-up is required prior to a structural audit of the mill, which will ultimately determine the fate of the building purchased by the township for $1.1 million in 2009.
Community Services director Don Gordon explained that prior to the clean-up, the building will need to be 'enveloped' in a new protective exterior preventing future leaks and animal intrusions. That process could take place concurrently with the hiring of the cleaning contractor, Mr. Gordon said.
Mr. Gordon added that the clean-up would not take place with remaining business tenants still in the building unless they are "comfortable" with the process. During a previous council meeting, Mr. Gordon noted that the manner of the clean-up will determine whether or not tenants can remain in the building during that part of the project.
"The concerns of the tenants are paramount," said Mr. Gordon.
Waterfront project manager Glenn Garwood outlined the importance of the clean-up in the overall waterfront plan.
"There's an opportunity with the mill," said Mr. Garwood. "If it's cleaned up and stabilized, it's an asset that we can lease out and help repay the debt on the building. We can get third parties to help with fixing the roof and walls. Even though there's a cost with the cleanup, it's a downpayment on the repairs.... It creates an incentive for proponents - better to do it first the way we want it done."
So far, $20,000 has been budgeted for the total clean-up (including the hiring of the environmental consultant) and structural audit costs for the mill. Despite concerns from council at previous meetings over potential increases in the cleaning expenses, Mr. Garwood told councillors on Nov. 26 that it's "unlikely" the clean-up and audit would surpass that total, adding that any money remaining from the $20,000 budgeted could be used to defer excess cleaning costs should they occur.
Responding to council inquiries regarding the township's course of action should the clean-up quotes exceed staff estimates, Mr. Gordon said that another option may be to transfer those expenses to whichever private developer that gets involved with the mill project, through the private-public partnership approach to the building's revitalization.
"(It's) conceivable that costs could be higher than anticipated," said Mr. Gordon. "We will report back to committee when we get proposals and will decide if the township can cover those costs or look at transferring the expense to the private sector."
Future monthly reports on the overall waterfront project are expected to address other aspects of the plan's second phase, including plans for the Port Perry Marina, Latcham Centre and Scugog Island Cruises.
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