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Council looks at options to save historic water tower

July 21, 2022   ·   0 Comments

The Tottenham water tower, not the nice new one by the waste water treatment plan, but the old one you see at the south end of Queen Street, has been a symbol for the town for over 100 years.

Unfortunately, after over a century of exposure to the elements, the tower is in need of some serious repair work if it is to remain a welcoming beacon.

The tower was built in 1914.

There is a lot of local sentiment hoping the tower can be saved and remain a symbol of the Town; however, that is going to cost a lot of money.

A report by Katie Huddleston, Supervisor, Culture for the municipality, which was submitted to Town Council on July 11, states that engineering staff recommended the tower be demolished.

When the last reports were filed regarding demolition and restoration in 2017, it was estimated that tearing the structure down would cost around $163,800, while a full restoration would cost around $472,700.

With inflation, those costs have no doubt, risen.

At the time of the last report, Culture staff tried to find solutions to raising funds to save the tower.

This included grant funding opportunities, however they could find no viable solutions.

They also considered sponsorship funding to allow a company to use the tower for advertising, however there were no offers.

The issue was discussed by Council at the July 11 Committee of the Whole meeting, with some support for saving the structure.

“We’ve had a number of historic items disappear around New Tecumseth over the years,” said Councillor Alan Lacey, adding, “We’re looking at 2017 numbers so it would be nice to have those updated.”

Councillor Stephanie MacLellan said that there are alternatives when it comes to saving the tower.

“It always seems to be an all or nothing,” Ms. MacLellan said. “It always seems to be we make it shiny and new or we tear it down. I think it is incumbent of us to save some of our heritage. I think we could focus on how much it costs just to make sure it doesn’t fall down. We can start there. I think it’s very important we just look at making it structurally sound and it doesn’t have to been shiny and new.”

Any decision made on the fate of the tower will now have to wait until the upcoming municipal election and will be in the hands of the newly elected Council.

By Brian Lockhart

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