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Old mill renovation and restoration plan pitched to Scugog council

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

SCUGOG: A company has been given Scugog Township approval to seek grant funding to potentially renovate Port Perry's old mill.

At a meeting on Monday, April 17th, Jeff Fleischmann and Shawn Sutcliffe from S.A Sutcliffe presented to councillors their early vision for the mill, and requested Township approval for them to apply for various grant opportunities.

"We foresee this going forward in two parts. The first part involves us searching out and obtaining various sources of funding to complete four different projects. These four parts are the exterior of the mill, the interior of the mill, the installation of an elevator to take visitors to the redone top floor and the creation of a new town square," Mr. Fleischmann said.

Mr. Fleischmann noted the work his company would complete would "advance the appeal of the old mill site and structure." Port Perry's old mill is located at the corner of Water Street and Queen Street. Mr. Fleischmann noted the next step of the project would be a public-private partnership between the Township and S.A. Sutcliffe, if the Township is interested.

The project could then see "construction of new retail space on the west side of the mill, and a renovation or revitalization of the Latcham Centre."

Mr. Fleischmann stated the company has been having conversations with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) "on possible involvement in this project."

"We envision the inside of the mill as an education and information centre where the Mississaugas can tell visitors about their long history in the area, as well as their ongoing presence here.”

However, Mr. Sutcliffe explained that talks with the Mississaugas have not yet led to a concrete agreement on this matter.

"They may entertain the thought of doing something with us," he said.

Ward 3 Councillor Robert Rock stated his concern about the Township supporting this project without having first seen a detailed proposal.

"I have no idea truly what is being proposed," he said. "I just don't have a clear vision of what you are doing."

Councillor Rock also said he hoped this motion didn't tie council to one exclusive company or offer for the mill.

Clerk Becky Jamieson clarified what council was voting on.

"This motion that's on the floor before council is solely receiving the presentation and providing support for them applying for funding opportunities. It's not giving them permission to do anything with the old mill at this point in time."

Mayor Wilma Wotten noted the Township's previous request for a proposal process for the mill was unsuccessful.

Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido spoke in favour of the motion, pointing out that "funding is hard to come by," and the delegates would need to bring a proposal to township staff first if their grant funding opportunity is successful.

Council later voted to support the company in their initiative to get funding and to have the MSIFN consulted during the process.

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