MINDEMOYA—The Mindemoya Old School building has become a cold silent place as the winter months settle in across Manitoulin following a decision by the Central Manitoulin municipal council to mothball the building, turning off the heat and electricity to the building in a cost-saving measure.
“We are looking at trying to find a way to replace the light,” said Mayor Richard Stephens, as he confirmed that the heat and hydro have been shut off in the building.
The building has been winterized much like someone would with their summer cottage, he noted. “The pipes have been drained and I understand that there is anti-freeze added to the lines, just like you might do with your cottage.”
Final disposition of the building has not yet been decided and council has repeatedly indicated that they would likely entertain a viable plan, should one be brought forward with a clear sustainable business plan.
While a number of concepts have been suggested and a number of councillors, including Mayor Stephens, have voiced deep regret over the need to close down the building, which is in need of significant investments in order to continue operation, no champion has as yet stepped up with a viable plan of action.
Proponents of saving the Old School building, which has seen service as municipal offices and, most recently, a business/service incubator, expressed alarm at the closure plans, indicating that the plaster and lathe construction inside the building would likely be severely and negatively impacted by allowing the building to freeze.
Despite those concerns, council elected to move forward with the closure of the building and the turning off of heat and electricity to the structure, citing high heating bills through the winter months as their prime concern.