THREE RIVERS, P.E.I. – Three Rivers council is trying to decide what to do with a community hall, a train station, an old Presbyterian church and a few schoolhouses across the region.
A request for a decision concerning five small hall buildings was put forward during a Three Rivers committee meeting in Georgetown on Sept. 28. The buildings, which the municipality owns, have been deteriorating due to old age.
The request was to approve that actions be taken on St. Andrews church in Lorne Valley, the Lorne Valley hall, the Lower Montague schoolhouse, the Brudenell schoolhouse and the Cardigan train station.
The recommended actions were particular to each building – some simply need repairs, whereas the Lorne Valley hall has a section rotting to the point where it would be best to replace the section entirely, community services manager Dorothy Macdonald said.
"(Because) by the time we tear everything out to put it back in, the costs would be cheaper to put in a new building."
The request wasn't approved, however, as a few councillors felt compiling all the buildings into one decision was challenging because each demanded its own consideration.
"Some of these halls mean a lot to people."
- Deputy mayor Debbie Johnston
Deputy mayor Debbie Johnston suggested individual requests be made for each building.
"Some of these halls mean a lot to people," she said. "I don't think I can make the same decision about all of them or none of them."
As well, some councillors felt that residents of the respective communities should be consulted first.
"Before we go ahead and make any decisions," said Coun. Jane King, "at least let them have some input."
AT A GLANCE:
- Three Rivers allocated $80,000 to the municipality's small halls in its 2020/21 operational budget.
- As well, a reserve fund of $60,000 was set aside for small hall renovations.
- Jill Walsh, Three Rivers' chief administrative officer, said several high-priority repairs have already been made. So, the request for decision at council's Sept. 28 meeting was to determine what the priorities are with the stated buildings and the remainder of the funds.
Mayor Edward MacAulay agreed the heritage and sentimental value of the buildings was important, so the plan is to arrange public consultations to be held sometime this fall before making any decisions. He also agreed with Coun. Alan Munro, who noted that buildings such as these are costly to maintain, so a long-term vision is needed.
"Some of these halls were definitely used heavily in the past," Munro said. "(But) I think Three Rivers has to look where we're going in the future and what we're going to do with all these buildings."
Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95