Cale­do­nia mill’s demo, re­build go­ing to OMB

Res­i­dents still op­posed to of­fice com­plex plan for 1853 his­toric land­mark

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NATALIE PAD­DON CALE­DO­NIA — npad­don@thes­pec.com 905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

Lo­cal res­i­dents are tak­ing ac­tion against the pro­posed de­mo­li­tion and re­build of the old flour mill in Haldimand County.

An ap­peal was filed with the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board last month af­ter county coun­cil­lors unan­i­mously backed the nec­es­sary zon­ing amend­ments for the project to move ahead in De­cem­ber.

The move fol­lows res­i­dents pre­sent­ing a pe­ti­tion with about 200 names to coun­cil late last year.

Some con­cerns raised by those op­posed to the re­de­vel­op­ment of the old Cale­do­nia mill — which has sat on the banks of the Grand River since 1853 — in­clude putting a com­mer­cial of­fice com­plex in a res­i­den­tial area and con­vert­ing a por­tion of green space to park­ing spots.

“You’re los­ing a piece of his­tory, and that’s a shame if it hap­pens,” said Ge­orge Nay­lor, who moved into a home across the street from the old mill last March. “But if it’s ab­so­lutely un­avoid­able, then what’s the next best al­ter­na­tive?”

For him, it’s find­ing a way to keep ac­cess to the river public in­stead of build­ing of­fice space.

“They can’t make more river­front,” he added.

Craig Man­ley, Haldimand’s gen­eral man­ager of plan­ning and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, told The Spectator last month that the county will con­tinue to back the rec­om­men­da­tion made by staff and ap­proved by coun­cil.

“We will sup­port that po­si­tion at the tri­bunal with our county so­lic­i­tor and put our best case for­ward,” Man­ley said.

Next steps will likely be a pre­hear­ing where both par­ties are brought to­gether to ad­dress the is­sues, and if that is un­suc­cess­ful, the mat­ter will move for­ward to a full hear­ing, he said.

Un­til the case works its way through the board, the county can’t is­sue for­mal ap­provals or per­mits, he added.

The plan is for the new mill build­ing to be built on the same foot­print as the old mill at 149 For­far St. W., with an ex­te­rior that matches its wood-pan­elled façade. De­signs for in­side in­clude more than 10,000 square feet of of­fice space, plus ar­eas com­mem­o­rat­ing the Cale­do­nia Old Mill’s her­itage.

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to start this sum­mer, with doors sched­uled to open by March 2018.

That’s what Henry Schilthuis, of River­side Prop­er­ties, which bought the Grand River mill from the Cale­do­nia Old Mill Cor­po­ra­tion for $2 last March, pre­vi­ously told The Spectator.

Ef­forts to re­store the last wa­ter­pow­ered mill on the Grand River be­gan in 1981, but have con­sis­tently been curbed, mainly be­cause of the fund­ing is­sues.

The mill stopped grind­ing flour and feed in 1966. In the 19th cen­tury, it put out more than one thou­sand 300-pound bar­rels of flour a week and shipped to Europe, Que­bec and Western Canada. It op­er­ated as a feed store un­til 1975.

Garett Eg­gink — a part­ner with River­side Prop­er­ties — pre­vi­ously told The Spectator the cost to com­pletely re­store the 15,000-square­foot mill is pegged at be­tween $8 mil­lion and $9 mil­lion, with the planned de­mo­li­tion and re­build ex­pected to ring in at about $3.5 mil­lion.

You’re los­ing a piece of his­tory, and that’s a shame if it hap­pens.” GE­ORGE NAY­LOR NEIGH­BOUR

JOHN RENNISON, THE HAMIL­TON SPECTATOR

The old mill is in deep dis­re­pair, in­clud­ing a crum­bling foun­da­tion.

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