Kincardine plans to undertake study to protect heritage district

Council close to finalizing 2019 capital budget


By Barb McKay


The Municipality of Kincardine is considering funding two studies this year that could have a positive impact on economic development.


During its second municipal budget meeting on Jan. 14, council weighed in on the draft capital budget and approved the majority of budgetary items, deferring only a couple for further discussion. Council agreed to allocate $45,000 from the municipal lifecycle reserve fund for a heritage conservation study. The purpose of the study is to look designating the area of Princes and Queen Streets in the vicinity of Victoria Park as a heritage conservation district.


As the Bruce Power Major Component Replacement project draws near, more businesses associated with the project are looking for office space and historic homes and buildings in the downtown core area have become attractive options.


“If we put out the welcome mat but don’t have any parameters in place we could lose our heritage district,” said Councillor Gerry Glover, who represents council on Kincardine’s Arts, Culture and Heritage committee.


Councillor Dave Cuyler asked if the work could be done in house.


“Every time I turn around we are spending $40,000 or $50,000 on a study. Don’t we have a heritage group that would be knowledgeable about this?”


Clerk Donna MacDougall said there would be quite a bit of work involved in the study, which would include providing recommendations on a path forward, and that is a lot to ask of volunteers. Deputy Mayor Marie Wilson added that the Ontario Heritage Act requires a study to be done before municipality can designate a district as ‘heritage’.


Some council members suggested the study be deferred until next year. Glover stressed that if the study is deferred the municipality will lose its window of opportunity before Bruce Power’s project gets underway. Without a heritage designation, building owners can renovate and convert buildings into what they want and the heritage will be lost.


“This is an economic development issue and a heritage issue,” said Councillor Maureen Couture, and suggested that the study should also consider parking to ensure there is enough if it becomes a commercial area.


Council is also considering including funds in this year’s capital budget to allow the parks and recreation department to carry out a pool feasibility report. The study would cost $50,000 and will be funded from the municipal lifecycle reserve fund. Council ultimately decided to park the study for the time being, though some council members argued to keep it in the budget.


“I’m not a fan of all the studies we do but I think this one is important for the Davidson Centre and where it will go in the future,” said Councillor Doug Kennedy.


Glover said he is concerned with all the capital projects that need to be completed in the next few years, if the municipality does the study this year by the time it gets around to doing any of the work to improve the pool the plans will be outdated.


Kennedy said a lot of people are moving into the area who work for businesses in the Bruce Power supply chain and they want amenities. He said when the new gymnasium at the Davidson Centre was proposed there were people who said it wasn’t needed, but businesses got behind the project and sponsored it.


Kincardine CAO Sharon Chambers said the study is necessary so that the municipality can plan ahead.


“We can’t keep deferring and not know what we need to lay away for the future,” she said, noting it will be costly to replace the pool.


“If we have a plan to rehabilitate or replace the pool the community will get behind it,” Couture said. “We’ve seen it before.”


Councillor Bill Stewart said he doesn’t see funding being available in the near future for a pool, but would support a basic study to look at the structure of the pool.


Mayor Anne Eadie suggested that the study be parked for now, adding that council still needs to decide how it will proceed with a proposed project to replace the Tiverton community centre and a request to complete the Kincardine Arts Centre renovations.


Council also approved a number of high priority capital budget items including road work projects and storm sewer improvements. The west end of Concession 5 will receive drainage improvements and will be repaved, a rural road at the Kincardine Kinloss boundary will be repaved to the South Line (Huron-Kinloss will pay $175,000 which is half the cost) and Sideroad 15 will be repaved from Concession 7 to 9 and Concession 9 to 11. The total cost of those road work projects is $2.03 million. The majority of the work will be funded from the lifecycle reserve fund, along with a provincial infrastructure grant for the Concession 5 project.


Other projects approved to go ahead this year include a new playground at Bervie Park ($40,000), a paved trail through Stonehaven Park ($10,000), new steps at the side entrance of the Kincardine library ($50,000) and a new heating and cooling unit at the Tiverton arena ($22,000) – all to be funded from municipal reserves. The municipality also plans to demolish the grand stand at Connaught Park at a cost of $30,000.


New municipal vehicles were also deemed a priority for 2019. The fire department will purchase a new tanker truck at a cost of $400,000 (half of the funds were set aside in 2018) and a new van at a cost of $30,000. The public works department will purchase a new snow plow truck at a cost of $325,000. The bylaw enforcement officer will get a staff vehicle for canine control with an anticipated cost of $25,000.


While council has approved the above mentioned projects and expenditures, they will not be officially adopted until council passes a bylaw adopting the 2019 municipal budget. The next budget meeting is scheduled for Jan. 30 in council chambers.