Kitten Mill Meeting – After The Meeting

More than 50 people came out to the Community Meeting held Sunday, October 31st in Lanark, to discuss the fate of the site known locally as the “Kitten Mill”. The meeting consisted of three parts:
  1. What we know and don’t know (yet)
  2. A proposal on how to move forward.
  3. Community feedback and blue-sky thinking over future uses for the site.


The building and property is currently privately owned. The owner is using the cement-block additions to store landscaping equipment and has no future plans for the building.

An inspection by an engineer who specializes in heritage restoration (brought in by the volunteer group, with the owners consent) has confirmed that the stone walls of the original building are structurally sound. However, the roof has sustained significant damage, and in the engineer’s professional opinion the building must be tarped before winter or the viability of the walls could be compromised – possibly beyond the point of restoration. So sealing the building from the elements is a critical near-term goal.

See the video

The entire meeting was recorded by local resident Rob Eady, captured in two parts. See:

At this time there is no sense of what it would cost to remediate the site – short-term or long-term. However, there is no intention of seeking Township funds for the project. The volunteer group has been advised by consultants in heritage restoration that heritage funds from private foundations and senior levels of government are available. The critical factor is the community’s development of a good proposal for restoration of the original building and re-use of the site.

Issues such as water and sewage and environmental remediation — and others — will surface should the project advance, but the volunteers stressed that not enough is known about those issues at this time to permit a fruitful discussion of them. If an option is granted, an exploration of all potential costs and funding sources will be undertaken.


IMPORTANT: The volunteer group made it clear that proceeding with any plan is contingent on the current owner providing an option on the site to the community non-profit. Discussions about an option are underway with the owner, but it must be clearly understood that at this point, those discussions remain ongoing. If the discussions are successful, the group commits to having the site professionally protected from the elements and researching both the costs and opportunities that owning the property would encompass.

Watching the video clips
Watching the video clips

If an option is obtained, the volunteer group will proceed with the incorporation of a non-profit community Board: The Lanark Heritage Preservation Society. The creation of an incorporated non-profit entity opens up potential funding sources, including Federal, Provincial and private foundation grants and loans.

Examples of successful community-driven initiatives were presented, and selected ‘clips’ were played from a video about a community restoration effort in Annapolis Royal, NS. You can watch the whole video on-line at


The volunteer group then turned to the people at the meeting and asked for feedback on the proposed plan in general as well as any and all suggestions for future uses of the building should the community be successful in acquiring and remediating the site.
All ideas and comments were recorded and will become part of future planning for the project. Proposals for future use fell into one of three ‘buckets’: Commercial/Retail, Community Services and Support, and Heritage and Culture. Many wonderful and creative ideas were suggested, but no decision will be made at this time. Those ideas included:

Commercial/Retail (no specific order)

  • Mix of small businesses: artisans, bakery, ice cream, café/tea room/etc. (lunches)
  • spa
  • farmers market
  • maker’s space
  • pop-up retail space
  • patio & restaurant
  • pub/restaurant (open mic nights)
  • micro-brewery
  • free parking (metered parking?)

Community and Support Services

  • Long-term care facility / Assisted living center
  • seniors center (networking, meeting space)
  • medical center
  • affordable housing (possibly behind the heritage building, to replace some of the cinder-block buildings)
  • day care center
  • support services for young families
  • a safe public space

Heritage and Culture

  • future site for library
  • future site for museum (Village of Lanark, “The Kitten Mill”, etc.)
  • concert/performance space
  • potential movie site (film production – ref: Almonte & Hallmark Movies – 3 a year!)
AND OVERALL: an inspiration for the restoration of other heritage sites in the Village as part of the future economic recovery of Lanark.

Communication is key! We will be in touch as things develop. (Note: If you volunteered to help with this at the meeting Sunday, we’ll be reaching out to you shortly)


Article Name
More than 50 people came out to the Community Meeting held Sunday, October 31st in Lanark, to discuss the fate of the site known locally as the "Kitten Mill".
Publisher Name
The Lanark Heritage Preservation Society

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