Sale of Alton town hall referred back to staff

March 25, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Town of Caledon staff had been ready to recommend the sale of the former Alton town hall, but Caledon councillors reconsidered, opting instead to send the matter back for more discussion on potential uses of the building. This was after councillors received a presentation on the matter from Betty Starr, president of the Alton Village Association.

The report from staff stated that council earlier this year declared the property on Main Street at Edmund Street surplus to the Town’s needs and suggested the property go on the market.

But Ms. Starr stressed that representatives of the community want a chance to express their hopes for the building and site. She said the former town hall is important to the village, and residents want it to remain as a special heritage feature, and restored to some use.

Ms. Starr also pointed out that the building has been left to deteriorate, and said residents could support the sale, on the condition that the building remain standing as part of the historical streetscape, and that it be put to some use.

She said the hall was built in 1877, and is important to the history of the area. The years since have seen it used as a church, municipal facility and even as a fire hall from the early 1940s until 1977. It has also been used as an antique shop.

As well, Ms. Starr stressed that council should review all bids for the site and refuse those that are not in the best interests of the village. She also warned that if the building is left vacant it will decay.

Councillor Nick deBoer complimented her on making a good recommendation.

“You come across with such passion and love,” Councillor Barb Shaughnessy remarked. “I think you’re very typical of residents of Alton.

When it came to imposing conditions on the sale, Town CAO Doug Barnes told Mr. deBoer the building does have a heritage designation, meaning it can’t be changed or demolished without council’s approval. He added that it would be up to council which bid would be acceptable and what conditions could be imposed. It would be in order for the Town to ask a buyer what the intended purpose of the building is to be.

Councillor DeBoer wondered about the potential of a rezoning to have the building used as a gallery, or something like that.

Councillor Shaughnessy observed that could be investigated, if it doesn’t go on the market now.

Councillor Rob Mezzapelli wondered about the cost of such a rezoning. He also said he doesn’t want to see this case treated as a one-off. He asked if there’s a policy for dealing with Town assets deemed surplus.

Councillor Gord McClure warned about imposing too many restrictions, fearing the Town might have to pay someone to buy it.

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