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Council votes to bring down old Tottenham water tower

May 10, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Eric Penkala
A familiar site of the Tottenham skyline could soon be disappearing.
New Tecumseth council has voted in favour of demolishing the old Tottenham water tower. The decision came during a May 1 session after an engineering report found it would cost nearly $500,000 to repair the tower.
The report found that the tower had several structural problems with both its foundation and steel components. The report also said that a strong gust of wind could potentially knock the tower over if it was left to deteriorate any further.
“To me, it’s dangerous,” said Tottenham councillor Chris Ross after reading the report. “It is an iconic structure in Tottenham and New Tecumseth, but so far that’s the only positive thing that I’ve been able to decipher for keeping this tower.”
Councillor J.J. Paul Whiteside agreed that demolishing the tower, which the report estimated would cost around $160,000, was the more sensible option.
“It has some historic criteria, but at the same time it’s not providing any constructive use at this time,” said Whiteside.
He also pointed out that the town is already dealing with a number of expensive projects, including extending the Collingwood water pipeline to Tottenham.
“I think throwing half a million dollars at this would be irresponsible,” said Whiteside.
At this time, council is unsure exactly how the cost of the demolition will be paid, but Director of Engineering, Rick Vatri, said it would likely come from an increase to either the water rate or taxes.
The tower was built in 1914 and was decommissioned in the mid-1990s. At that time, small repairs were made and the tower was repainted, but since then no repairs or maintenance have been performed on the tower.
Council voted 9-1 in favour of demolishing the tower, with Councillor Shira Harrison McIntyre the only one to vote against the motion.
Council will vote to ratify its recommendation during its next meeting on May 15.

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