New building may seal fate of Forward House

Forward House, June 2017 – (The Leader/Blancher photo)

IROQUOIS – A new building is in the budget and in the near future for the Iroquois municipal campground, but the logistics of how that project will proceed will be a subject of debate at the February 6 council meeting.

While a staff report recommends that a new building be pursued, South Dundas council will ultimately decide where exactly that building will be and what the future holds for the Forward House building.

The outcome of those discussions occurred after press time and will be reported in next week’s edition.

Council has identified the Iroquois Campground building for replacement and the staff report by director of buildings and recreation Ben Macpherson presents two viable options.

One is to demolish both the existing campground building and the Forward House and locate the new building in the vicinity of where the Forward House was.

The second option is to demolish only the campground building and build the new structure in its place.

Either option has an estimated cost of $350,000.

If both buildings are demolished, it would make way for some additional campsites and picnic area.

If the new building is built in the Forward House location, it would open up sight lines to the river for all campers. Also, it would allow for the old building to remain available for use until the new building is complete.

In the report to council, in considering option two, Macpherson said, “Construction could be done during camping season, but would be highly disruptive.”

Macpherson said that the second option does not do anything to address the issues with Forward House which, according to the asset conditioning report needs a $257,000 investment for restoration to allow access for public use.

According to covenants on the Forward House deed, that land was granted for park purposes, and should it no longer be used for park purposes it will have to be re-conveyed back to the grantor which was Ontario Hydro.

The cost to restore both buildings would exceed $650,000.

The 2018 draft budget includes allocations of $350,000 to build a new campground building and $10,000 for the potential demolition of Forward House.

UPDATE

Last night (February 6th) South Dundas council voted in favour of demolishing both the Forward House and the existing Iroquois Campsite Building. A new campsite building will likely be built in the Forward House location.

While the budget includes $350,000 for that project, council and staff agree that the actual cost of the new building will likely be below that budget amount.

“I don’t like losing the Forward House but I realize that it’s not economically feasible to repair that building,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan. He suggested that the architectural design of the new building should, in some way, pay homage to the Forward House.

South Dundas councillor Marc St. Pierre agreed. “I like that idea,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that the building is at a point where I don’t think it’s salvageable.”

“Forward House has gone beyond its life expectancy,” said South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegarde. “It’s been neglected for many years. It’s just too far gone.”