Excerpts from today’s Lanark Era; See the newspaper for the full story
“An architect and an engineer brought in by the Lanark Heritage Preservation Society have both determined that parts of the Glenayr Kitten Mill building in Lanark village could be saved, even as Lanark Highlands Township moves ahead with demolition plans.
“Heritage engineering company John G. Cooke and Associates says that the stone structure can be saved and conserved in place, and full demolition of the stone masonry is not required.”
Architect Toon Dreessen from the architecture and design firm DCA was asked to consider the relative economic and social value of either demolishing or repurposing the mill building. His report points out that “…[monetary] cost is a consideration, but [costs of demolition]… include: opportunity cost, when demolished buildings can never be replaced and may leave an empty site for years to come; landfill cost, which can strain existing landfills; environmental cost, as the buildings are on or close to the river and demolition could have a negative impact; and social cost, with the physical incarnation of local residents’ memories gone forever.
“The LHPS signed an agreement with [the building owner, Andrew] Robertson on Sept. 6 to give the organization a year to explore the option of restoring and repurposing the building,’ as Toon suggested. “The group planned to work with community members to see what would have to be done to restore the building, apply for provincial and federal heritage funds needed to support the reconstruction, develop a business plan, and if the project is considered feasible, go ahead with the project.
“Two weeks later, the township put a demolition order on the building and informed the owner that if he failed to comply within a month, the township would carry out the demolition and put a lien on the property to cover township costs.
“Reeve Peter McLaren said yesterday that staff is working on demolition plans and looking at potential contamination issues, with the cost – which could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars – added as a lien on the property. He refused to say where the township would take the money from in the meantime, noting that it is a confidential matter dealing with a private taxpayer.”