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Woolwich moves to sell surplus

The old township hall in Conestogo, and its newer but also redundant counterpart in Elmira have been declared surplus, but the buildings won’t be on the market anytime soon. Both are candidates for heritage designations.

In the case of 69 Arthur St. S., the township is also looking at transferring some of the land to neighbouring Woolwich Community Services, and establishing a right-of-way to the property.

“Although the properties may be declared surplus by council this evening, they won’t necessarily be sold immediately because there are some further things that are going to have to happen with respect to some of these properties,” director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley told councillors meeting Tuesday night.

Woolwich council this week declared a number of properties surplus in advance of selling them off to help finance a string of new buildings.
Woolwich council this week declared a number of properties surplus in advance of selling them off to help finance a string of new buildings.

The township has declared as surplus five larger properties and six small pieces of land, mostly unused road allowances. All will be sold at some point.
The properties up for grabs include the old Floradale fire station on Ruggles Road – replaced by a much larger facility on Florapine Road – the former administration building on Arthur Street in Elmira and the soon-to-be vacant Elmira pool. Also on the list are the old Woolwich Township hall on Sawmill Road in Conestogo and a former gravel pit in Maryhill.
Once cleared, each of the properties will be sold by tender. Woolwich has had each appraised. Only those sealed tenders that come in no lower than 15 per cent below the appraised value will be considered, with the property going to the highest bidder.
The public won’t know in advance what the appraised values are, Kennaley said in response to a question from Coun. Mark Bauman.
“We won’t divulge that information until after the tender process is complete.”
The smaller pieces of land will be offered to adjacent property owners.
The value of vacant land on Arthur Street North and at Kramp Road has been set at $5,000 per acre. The Balsam Grove Road land is valued at $3,000 per acre. A small piece of land at the end of Woolwich Street South, by Fountain Street in Breslau has a price tag of $75,000.
A small piece of land on Princess Street West, adjacent to St. Jacobs Public School, and another small piece at Klinck Street and University Avenue, adjacent to Elmira District Secondary School, will be sold to the Waterloo Region District School Board for $2, plus surveying and legal costs.
Those sales are expected to move ahead quickly.
The larger properties, however, will take some time. The fire hall will likely go to tender relatively soon. The pool site, however, will require the facility to be decommissioned and cleaned up before the property can be moved.
Coun. Sandy Shantz asked if the township is looking at holding on to the Elmira pool site as a potential location for overflow parking from the Woolwich Memorial Centre.
While that was considered, the property was deemed to be of no future need, said Kennaley.
With the former township hall building, designation under the Heritage Act will take at least another three months, meaning the sale will be sidelined at least that long. A study is now underway to determine if the buildings should be protected and, if so, to what extent.
“With the old town hall in Elmira, we appreciate that there have been additions and other modifications to the building, so we may only end up designating two of the facades or three of the sides of the building, and not necessarily designating the interior of the building. The interior has undergone many modifications over the years, so its historical integrity may not warrant a designation,” said Kennaley.
For the Conestogo building at 1924 Sawmill Rd., the exterior may be the only part protected, allowing for renovations inside.
Coun. Murray Martin, noting the property is zoned for residential use, said the township could move quickly to sell the building to someone who wants to renovate the interior to make it a home.
Both he and Bauman called for staff to wrap up the heritage process by the end of the year.
Funds from the sale of all of the properties will go towards Woolwich’s recent facilities building boom.

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