Michael Rikley-Lancaster, the Curator of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte, arranged a couple of very helpful Zoom meetings about the Kitten Mill on Thursday, December 2.
Ontario Historical Society
Michael and I spoke with Rob Leverty of the Ontario Historical Society (OHS) about the process of incorporating the Lanark Heritage Preservation Board (we’ve already reserved the name, a necessary first step). The OHS can guide us through incorporating the Society, including development of the required constitution and by-laws (if you don’t get them right, tedious delays result, and the OHS has helped multiple Ontario organizations through the process).
Once we’ve completed the necessary documents, the OHS has the power to incorporate LHPS as a not-for-profit corporation in the Province of Ontario under its Special Act, 1899; LHPS will then be issued its own Ontario Corporation Number by the Province. Rob also told us that we can include ‘charitable status’ clauses in the constitution which will allow LHPS apply to Canada Revenue to become a charitable organization able to issue tax receipts to donors.
National Trust Canada
Michael and I then met with Robert Pajot (National Trust Canada’s project leader for Regeneration) and Chris Wiebe (National Trust Canada’s Manager of Heritage Policy
and Government Relations). We had a fascinating and helpful discussion on strategies for partnerships in reviving the Mill and about the various programs the National Trust offers that we could benefit from — including workshops on all the elements that have to be put together to make a restoration project work and information on funding sources for the project.
The major sticking point remains: persuading the current owner to give LHPS an option to buy the property; unfortunately, there’s very little action we can take until we have that option. We’ve asked several people who may have some influence on the owner to speak to him and point out the advantages to him of letting the community have ownership of the Mill so funding can be available for its restoration; and we continue to work on a draft offer – more complicated in this situation than you might think.
I assure you, if/when we have word from the owner, you’ll hear about it! I realize this ‘update’ doesn’t go very far, but it’s important that everyone involved in this project – you, for instance – has all the information available on what’s happening.