Hermitage ruins rebuild ‘set to go,’ authority says

Community May 28, 2015 by Richard Leitner Ancaster News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plans to rebuild Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins are back on track after city councillors rejected a permit committee’s call for a review by an outside heritage expert.

Sandy Bell, manager of design and development, said the authority is now in the process of fulfilling nine original heritage permit conditions set by city planning staff and expects work to begin in July.

A required archeological assessment of the Sulphur Springs Road site last week didn’t uncover any artifacts, he said.

“I think we’re set to go,” Bell said. “We’ve got our approvals and we’ve got enough money for doing the building for this year.”

The permit conditions also require prior city approval of the methodology and materials contractor Rock Solid Natural Stone Masons Ltd. will use to dismantle, store and rebuild the 160-year-old ruins, remnants of a fire-destroyed mansion.

However, they don’t include the outside review recommended by the city’s municipal heritage committee after one of its members suggested Rock Solid had a conflict of interest in both designing and carrying out the work.

In January, authority directors awarded the Ancaster firm the $460,000 untendered contract to restore the crumbling ruins and three outbuildings that served as a nursery, laundry room and chicken pen.

Rock Solid will dismantle them stone by stone and replace the mansion’s foundation. Only the mansion’s three main walls will be reassembled, with internal bracing to hold them in place, although remnants of the outbuildings will also be preserved.

Bell said “to simplify life” the authority has scrapped a contentious plan to build a stone fence at the ruins’ entrance.

The feature was criticized by some permit committee members as out of character with the site’s history because it wasn’t part of the original mansion.

“We can live without it,” Bell said. “It came out of discussions with the contractor and he just thought the stone from the foundation was really great stuff that couldn’t be used on the building, but could be used for the stone fence.”

The city and authority are each contributing $200,000 to the project, with private donations and fundraising by the authority’s charity, the Hamilton Conservation Foundation, expected to add another $200,000.

Bell said the authority is still aiming for the rebuild to be finished by the end of this year, but work on other components, like some new paths and interpretive signage, will probably stretch into 2016.

“The focus is really on the actual Hermitage structure for this year,” he said.

Hermitage ruins rebuild ‘set to go,’ authority says

Plan drops contentious stone fence

Community May 28, 2015 by Richard Leitner Ancaster News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plans to rebuild Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins are back on track after city councillors rejected a permit committee’s call for a review by an outside heritage expert.

Sandy Bell, manager of design and development, said the authority is now in the process of fulfilling nine original heritage permit conditions set by city planning staff and expects work to begin in July.

A required archeological assessment of the Sulphur Springs Road site last week didn’t uncover any artifacts, he said.

“I think we’re set to go,” Bell said. “We’ve got our approvals and we’ve got enough money for doing the building for this year.”

“We’ve got our approvals and we’ve got enough money for doing the building for this year.”

The permit conditions also require prior city approval of the methodology and materials contractor Rock Solid Natural Stone Masons Ltd. will use to dismantle, store and rebuild the 160-year-old ruins, remnants of a fire-destroyed mansion.

However, they don’t include the outside review recommended by the city’s municipal heritage committee after one of its members suggested Rock Solid had a conflict of interest in both designing and carrying out the work.

In January, authority directors awarded the Ancaster firm the $460,000 untendered contract to restore the crumbling ruins and three outbuildings that served as a nursery, laundry room and chicken pen.

Rock Solid will dismantle them stone by stone and replace the mansion’s foundation. Only the mansion’s three main walls will be reassembled, with internal bracing to hold them in place, although remnants of the outbuildings will also be preserved.

Bell said “to simplify life” the authority has scrapped a contentious plan to build a stone fence at the ruins’ entrance.

The feature was criticized by some permit committee members as out of character with the site’s history because it wasn’t part of the original mansion.

“We can live without it,” Bell said. “It came out of discussions with the contractor and he just thought the stone from the foundation was really great stuff that couldn’t be used on the building, but could be used for the stone fence.”

The city and authority are each contributing $200,000 to the project, with private donations and fundraising by the authority’s charity, the Hamilton Conservation Foundation, expected to add another $200,000.

Bell said the authority is still aiming for the rebuild to be finished by the end of this year, but work on other components, like some new paths and interpretive signage, will probably stretch into 2016.

“The focus is really on the actual Hermitage structure for this year,” he said.

Hermitage ruins rebuild ‘set to go,’ authority says

Plan drops contentious stone fence

Community May 28, 2015 by Richard Leitner Ancaster News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s plans to rebuild Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins are back on track after city councillors rejected a permit committee’s call for a review by an outside heritage expert.

Sandy Bell, manager of design and development, said the authority is now in the process of fulfilling nine original heritage permit conditions set by city planning staff and expects work to begin in July.

A required archeological assessment of the Sulphur Springs Road site last week didn’t uncover any artifacts, he said.

“I think we’re set to go,” Bell said. “We’ve got our approvals and we’ve got enough money for doing the building for this year.”

“We’ve got our approvals and we’ve got enough money for doing the building for this year.”

The permit conditions also require prior city approval of the methodology and materials contractor Rock Solid Natural Stone Masons Ltd. will use to dismantle, store and rebuild the 160-year-old ruins, remnants of a fire-destroyed mansion.

However, they don’t include the outside review recommended by the city’s municipal heritage committee after one of its members suggested Rock Solid had a conflict of interest in both designing and carrying out the work.

In January, authority directors awarded the Ancaster firm the $460,000 untendered contract to restore the crumbling ruins and three outbuildings that served as a nursery, laundry room and chicken pen.

Rock Solid will dismantle them stone by stone and replace the mansion’s foundation. Only the mansion’s three main walls will be reassembled, with internal bracing to hold them in place, although remnants of the outbuildings will also be preserved.

Bell said “to simplify life” the authority has scrapped a contentious plan to build a stone fence at the ruins’ entrance.

The feature was criticized by some permit committee members as out of character with the site’s history because it wasn’t part of the original mansion.

“We can live without it,” Bell said. “It came out of discussions with the contractor and he just thought the stone from the foundation was really great stuff that couldn’t be used on the building, but could be used for the stone fence.”

The city and authority are each contributing $200,000 to the project, with private donations and fundraising by the authority’s charity, the Hamilton Conservation Foundation, expected to add another $200,000.

Bell said the authority is still aiming for the rebuild to be finished by the end of this year, but work on other components, like some new paths and interpretive signage, will probably stretch into 2016.

“The focus is really on the actual Hermitage structure for this year,” he said.