RAISIN RIVER HERITAGE CENTRE

St. Andrews West – Township of South Stormont

Council and staff have been researching and reviewing all potential options for the future of the Raisin River Heritage Centre (RRHC) since 2016.  This page provides members of the public and key stakeholders the opportunity to review all of the background information and timeline of the work that has been completed.

At the Council Meeting on January 13, 2021, based on all of the research presented on this page, Council approved the recommendation to direct staff to move forward with the option of demolition of the RRHC. The first step in moving forward with the demolition process would require a repeal of the Heritage designation that was created through a municipal by-law (former Township of Cornwall) in 1978.  This by-law is registered with the Ontario Heritage Trust and the proper process must be followed for public notice and opportunity for appeal.

Notice of Intention to Repeal By-Law No. 3418

Public Notice of intention to repeal the by-law and the options for public appeal.

 

PROJECT TIMELINE / REPORTS / GENERAL INFORMATION

The Township of South Stormont is the owner of the RRHC located in St. Andrews West. Construction of the facility was completed in 1909 and used as a Roman Catholic Convent and boarding school until the departure of the sisters in 1976. The Cornwall Township Historical Society (CTHS) was formed in 1977 and worked with the former Township of Cornwall to save the facility from a planned demolition. This created a partnership between the former Township and the CTHS for the use and maintenance of the facility, subsequently, the land was designated as having “historical value and interest” by way of a municipal by-law in 1978. Over the years this building has been used as a library, storage facility, and CTHS archive museum. The Township also owns approximately five feet (5’) of land around the perimeter of the building that is landlocked from the roadway by the property owned by the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO). Access to the landlocked property is by way of a registered easement through the CDSBEO property.

Since the closure of the SD&G Library branch in St. Andrews West, the only use for the facility was as a headquarters for the Cornwall Township Historical Society (CTHS).  Prior to the closure of the building in 2017, the CTHS were using the facility to host 6 official meetings per year and operate a portion of the facility as a museum for 6 Sunday afternoons per year.

1980 – Reference Plan

GIS Aerial Image 

2021

Council Meeting Report & Presentation

At the January 13, 2021 regular meeting of Council, staff presented final updates on potential options for the future of the RRHC along with recommendations to move forward with the process of repealing the original heritage designation by-law of 1978, and to include the demolition cost of the facility as part of the 2021 budget.

January 13, 2021 Council Report

January 13, 2021 Council Meeting Agenda/Video Presentation (Item 11.C.: video starts at 1:49:10)

2020

Property Renovation Option Update and Consideration for Regional Archives Centre

The Township commissioned an architectural firm to review the initial class D estimate that was completed by engineers in 2017 for the abatement and structural renovations required to re-open the facility to the public.  It was noted in the original estimate that items in the building code for emergency exiting, fire prevention, and accessibility were not addressed and would require more research.  The 2020 Architectural Analysis provides the updated figures and includes the cost of inflation since the original estimates were received in 2017.

The architectural firm was also tasked with providing an additional estimate to further renovate the facility for it to be used as a regional archives centre.  The estimate included renovation considerations for all floors, creation of offices, and mechanical components to ensure that it would meet archive facility standards.

2020 Architectural Analysis and Update Report

Staff has researched several grant opportunities to offset any potential renovations, however these attempts are non-existent without first demonstrating that there is a clear business plan that outlines the current need and the future sustainability that such renovations would provide.

Facility Demolition Update

In 2018, the Township worked with a contractor that specializes in demolition of buildings to obtain an estimate.  The contractor reviewed the Asbestos Survey Report, Building Condition Report, and toured the facility in order to better understand the environmental and structural requirement of a demolition.

In 2020, the same contractor reviewed their previous findings and provided an updated estimate/quote for the purpose of demolishing the RRHC;

 2020 Demolition Estimate

The Township would also be required under the current procurement policy to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to obtain the services of a demolition contractor.  This competitive bid process could have a positive impact on the original estimate received.

Sale of Property

Township staff worked with a solicitor to better understand the legal responsibilities associated with selling or transferring the ownership of the property to another organization or individual. Despite the known condition and environmental concerns identified within the building, it was recommended that the Township would be able to sell the facility as is provided that all documentation collected by the Township was transferred prior to the final agreement of sale.  It was also suggested that Township should complete an Environmental Site Assessment prior to sale.

Staff was able to reach out to a contractor and explore requirements to complete an Environmental Site Assessment.  The contractor was able to provide a basic quote and further explanation on what type of work would be required;

Estimate for an Environmental Site Assessment Phase I & Phase II 

-        Estimate & General Information 

-        Environmental Site Assessment – General Process Chart 

Additional Research Notes

Staff also presented Council other research notes that should be considered prior to exploring option of sale;

  • The CDSBEO is a community partner and are expressing their concern about the safety of the school yard should a new owner take possession.  Their request is that the building be removed for the health and safety of everyone involved.
  • The current security of the easement through the CDSBEO property ensures that the standards for school yard safety is being met, it is unclear how a new owner would be able to work with the board to build a new relationship that would work for both parties.
  • It has been identified that the septic system for the RRHC is located on CDSBEO land, this poses complication and risk of sale to any new ownership group.
  • The Township only owns 5’ around the perimeter of the RRHC, there is no parking options for any new owner or business to operate and gain access.
  • Selling the property as a designated Heritage Site through Municipal By-Law would require new owners to meet all heritage building permit requirements for future renovations to this site.
  • The Township holds the risk of selling this property to a new owner who could neglect the health and safety concerns of the facility, causing more concern for children and staff attending the school.
  • Township would hold the risk of new ownership purchasing the facility at little cost and eventually abandoning the facility in the future, at that point the township could again be responsible for the abandoned building and all costs associated. 

2019

Meetings with the CDSBEO

The Township met with several representatives of the St. Andrews Elementary School and the CDSBEO to present the options that have been researched and to see if there was any interest in the Board purchasing the facility, providing additional land to the Township, or assisting with demolition costs.

Official Letter of Response and Request from the CDSBEO

Council Meeting Report - Request for Public Consultation

The following report was approved at a regular meeting of Council on February 19, 2019.  The report suggests that the Township seek further input from the community before any recommendations are made for the future of the RRHC, it also provides a brief outline of the current state of the building as well as some of the research and subsequent work that has been done in recent years to ensure the health and safety of those who might be approaching the building and/or occupying the building.

February 2019 Report

Public Consultations

A public consultation session was held on April 17, 2019 at Station 4 Fire Hall in St. Andrews West. Staff used a variety of advertising methods to inform the public and worked with the Cornwall Township Historical Society and the St. Andrews Catholic Church to raise awareness that the Township was looking for public opinion on this issue. Not including staff and Council members, there was a recorded 20 members of the general public in attendance. There was a variety of comments/suggestion recorded by staff during this event. All members of the public were encouraged to submit any suggestions for the future of the buildings to the Director of Parks and Recreation. Staff received an additional three (3) letters prior to the consultation session, however none provided any new recommendations to be research as a viable business plan moving forward.

October 2019 Report

2018

Facility Demolition

The Township hired a contractor specializing in the demolition of buildings to obtain an estimate for abatement and demolition of the facility.

This estimate has been updated and is available for review on this webpage under 2020.

2017

Building Condition Assessment

Engineers were hired to perform a structural and environmental assessment of the current state of the building.  Following the completion of the report, the firm was also hired to provide a subsequent class D estimate on the action items provided within this report.

Building Condition Report

Budget Costing Report (Class D Estimate) for Building Condition Report

2016

Designated Substance Report

The Township hired consultants to perform a designated substance review of all Township owned facilities in 2016.  These reports provide in-depth review of any designated substance (i.e. asbestos, lead paint, silica, Ethylene Oxide).

As indicated by the report received for the RRHC, a substantial amount of substances were found in the materials used to construct the building.  

2016 Designated Substance Report