Hamilton mountain councillor to host “roundtable” on Auchmar’s future

News Jun 11, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead wants to talk about Auchmar Estate’s future.

He is proposing to host a “roundtable” with individuals interested in keeping the historic building within the public domain.

“I will accept anything who wants to come to the table with their plans,” said Whitehead.

Councillors have already approved what has been characterized as a duel plan for the future of Auchmar.  City staff, which had recommended to councillors that the property be sold, is to seek offers from private businesses to purchase the facility. But politicians also want the city to examine potential proposals that would leave Auchmar in city hands.

After a drawn-out request for proposal process on Auchmar, city staff rejected ideas introduced by Friends of Auchmar and CoBALT Connects to re-use the facility.

Friends of Auchmar vice-president Robin McKee has stated that Auchmar needs to be kept in public hands. He said once the property is sold, it will be “gone forever.”

Whitehead did get a clause in a recent motion that once any organization purchases the property, if it wants to sell it, the city has first right of refusal.

It costs the city about $20,000 annually to maintain the 163-year-old mansion and surrounding grounds. City staff estimates it could cost upwards of $6 million to properly upgrade the facility. Over the last few years it has already spent about $600,000 on improvements, including cutting down dying trees, restoring the windows, and fixing various walls.

Hamilton has owned the property, located at 88 Fennell Avenue West, since 1999 when it took the facility over from DeSantis Homes in a land swap.

Councillors last year narrowly turned down a proposal from a still secret non-profit organization that wanted to purchase the property. Politicians didn’t want to hold behind-closed-door negotiations between the agency and city officials, wary of an organization that didn’t want to reveal itself.

City Manager Chris Murray last month confirmed the organization was still interested in purchasing the property.

Auchmar has extensive heritage easements on the property held by the Ontario Heritage Trust that limits what can be done to the building and the 3.65 hectare grounds.

Whitehead, who represents the area where Auchmar is located, acknowledges there could be a large group of people sitting around the table. But that doesn’t bother him. All he wants is a plan that everybody can agree to that will revitalize Auchmar, while keeping it public.

“I want people to come to the table with their plans,” he said.

Dates and times for holding the roundtable are “in process,” said Whitehead

 

Hamilton mountain councillor to host “roundtable” on Auchmar’s future

News Jun 11, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead wants to talk about Auchmar Estate’s future.

He is proposing to host a “roundtable” with individuals interested in keeping the historic building within the public domain.

“I will accept anything who wants to come to the table with their plans,” said Whitehead.

Councillors have already approved what has been characterized as a duel plan for the future of Auchmar.  City staff, which had recommended to councillors that the property be sold, is to seek offers from private businesses to purchase the facility. But politicians also want the city to examine potential proposals that would leave Auchmar in city hands.

After a drawn-out request for proposal process on Auchmar, city staff rejected ideas introduced by Friends of Auchmar and CoBALT Connects to re-use the facility.

Friends of Auchmar vice-president Robin McKee has stated that Auchmar needs to be kept in public hands. He said once the property is sold, it will be “gone forever.”

Whitehead did get a clause in a recent motion that once any organization purchases the property, if it wants to sell it, the city has first right of refusal.

It costs the city about $20,000 annually to maintain the 163-year-old mansion and surrounding grounds. City staff estimates it could cost upwards of $6 million to properly upgrade the facility. Over the last few years it has already spent about $600,000 on improvements, including cutting down dying trees, restoring the windows, and fixing various walls.

Hamilton has owned the property, located at 88 Fennell Avenue West, since 1999 when it took the facility over from DeSantis Homes in a land swap.

Councillors last year narrowly turned down a proposal from a still secret non-profit organization that wanted to purchase the property. Politicians didn’t want to hold behind-closed-door negotiations between the agency and city officials, wary of an organization that didn’t want to reveal itself.

City Manager Chris Murray last month confirmed the organization was still interested in purchasing the property.

Auchmar has extensive heritage easements on the property held by the Ontario Heritage Trust that limits what can be done to the building and the 3.65 hectare grounds.

Whitehead, who represents the area where Auchmar is located, acknowledges there could be a large group of people sitting around the table. But that doesn’t bother him. All he wants is a plan that everybody can agree to that will revitalize Auchmar, while keeping it public.

“I want people to come to the table with their plans,” he said.

Dates and times for holding the roundtable are “in process,” said Whitehead

 

Hamilton mountain councillor to host “roundtable” on Auchmar’s future

News Jun 11, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead wants to talk about Auchmar Estate’s future.

He is proposing to host a “roundtable” with individuals interested in keeping the historic building within the public domain.

“I will accept anything who wants to come to the table with their plans,” said Whitehead.

Councillors have already approved what has been characterized as a duel plan for the future of Auchmar.  City staff, which had recommended to councillors that the property be sold, is to seek offers from private businesses to purchase the facility. But politicians also want the city to examine potential proposals that would leave Auchmar in city hands.

After a drawn-out request for proposal process on Auchmar, city staff rejected ideas introduced by Friends of Auchmar and CoBALT Connects to re-use the facility.

Friends of Auchmar vice-president Robin McKee has stated that Auchmar needs to be kept in public hands. He said once the property is sold, it will be “gone forever.”

Whitehead did get a clause in a recent motion that once any organization purchases the property, if it wants to sell it, the city has first right of refusal.

It costs the city about $20,000 annually to maintain the 163-year-old mansion and surrounding grounds. City staff estimates it could cost upwards of $6 million to properly upgrade the facility. Over the last few years it has already spent about $600,000 on improvements, including cutting down dying trees, restoring the windows, and fixing various walls.

Hamilton has owned the property, located at 88 Fennell Avenue West, since 1999 when it took the facility over from DeSantis Homes in a land swap.

Councillors last year narrowly turned down a proposal from a still secret non-profit organization that wanted to purchase the property. Politicians didn’t want to hold behind-closed-door negotiations between the agency and city officials, wary of an organization that didn’t want to reveal itself.

City Manager Chris Murray last month confirmed the organization was still interested in purchasing the property.

Auchmar has extensive heritage easements on the property held by the Ontario Heritage Trust that limits what can be done to the building and the 3.65 hectare grounds.

Whitehead, who represents the area where Auchmar is located, acknowledges there could be a large group of people sitting around the table. But that doesn’t bother him. All he wants is a plan that everybody can agree to that will revitalize Auchmar, while keeping it public.

“I want people to come to the table with their plans,” he said.

Dates and times for holding the roundtable are “in process,” said Whitehead