Auchmar Estate to remain in public hands while RHLI’s plan draws applause

News Jun 16, 2016 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton politicians may have been “mesmerized” by a proposed plan by the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry to take over the Hon. Isaac Buchanan’s Auchmar Estate and create a museum and brew pub on the property, but they left the door open for the city to seek other offers from the public to use the historic facility.

Councillors agreed at their June 15 general issues committee meeting to keep the city-owned Auchmar Estate in public hands, a decision that pleased heritage activists and the non-profit group Friends of Auchmar. But councillors also gave city staff the leeway to talk to the RHLI about its proposed plan and possible lease arrangements, along with any other group that wants to use Auchmar.

A few councillors said there were “other parties” including the Hamilton-based think-tank Cardus that have expressed an interest in Auchmar.

Most councillors were up beat after listening to the RHLI plan, which calls for spending about $14 million to renovate the manor house, convert the Coach House into a restaurant/brew pub; demolishing the former Hungarian Sisters of Social Service’s facility and chapel and building an inn and regimental chapel; creating an education centre; improving the 3.76 hectare grounds and opening it up for public use; and establishing a soldier’s centre. RHLI officials say it should take about five years to accomplish their phased plan.

“I’m mesmerized,” said Mountain councillor Tom Jackson. “This is a potentially wonderful relationship.”

Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, who prior to becoming a councillor became involved in an attempt by SISO, once Hamilton’s largest immigrant service, to use Auchmar, said “I have a real soft spot for Auchmar. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

Hamilton’s heritage community was equally pleased with the possibility of finally having a local organization take over a prized mountain heritage site.

“I’m delighted with the (RHLI),” said Dr. Diane Dent, chair of the Friends of Auchmar.

She did have some concerns about the group’s proposed plans, including how the Ontario Heritage Trust’s easement on the property could prevent a few of the ideas from becoming a reality.

Robin McKee, a historian and heritage activist, and a member of the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, said he was “enthusiastic” about the plan.

“It is a great opportunity with a great vision,” he said.

While the RHLI’s proposal provided an opportunity for the city to finally do something with Auchmar after Hamilton acquired it in 1999 and over the years has invested over $2 million into the facility, Mayor Fred Eisenberger wanted to “keep the door open” to other offers.

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead questioned the reasoning to not fully pursue the RHLI offer. He said over the years the city has “exhausted” ever other opportunity.

“We have a great interest here,” he said. “If you want to open up this circus again (referring to any request for proposals), I’m not supporting it.”

 Hamilton heritage staff stated in a report released in January 2016 it will cost about $8 million in capital funding to renovate Auchmar suitable for public and private use. The money is needed for air conditioning, improving the Coach House interior, install fire safety measures , and making sure the facility meets Ontario’s accessibility standards.

RHLI’s Second Lieutenant Richard Moll and Sgt. Brian Buckle, who made their presentation to the GIC, said they have already been discussing Auchmar with possible funding partners to assist in remaking Auchmar.

“We are committed to the integrity of the historical grounds,” said Moll.

Hamilton staff are expected to review the RHLI proposal, as well as any other offer that is submitted to the city. A report will be made to councillors by the end of the year.

Auchmar Estate to remain in public hands while RHLI’s plan draws applause

News Jun 16, 2016 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton politicians may have been “mesmerized” by a proposed plan by the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry to take over the Hon. Isaac Buchanan’s Auchmar Estate and create a museum and brew pub on the property, but they left the door open for the city to seek other offers from the public to use the historic facility.

Councillors agreed at their June 15 general issues committee meeting to keep the city-owned Auchmar Estate in public hands, a decision that pleased heritage activists and the non-profit group Friends of Auchmar. But councillors also gave city staff the leeway to talk to the RHLI about its proposed plan and possible lease arrangements, along with any other group that wants to use Auchmar.

A few councillors said there were “other parties” including the Hamilton-based think-tank Cardus that have expressed an interest in Auchmar.

Most councillors were up beat after listening to the RHLI plan, which calls for spending about $14 million to renovate the manor house, convert the Coach House into a restaurant/brew pub; demolishing the former Hungarian Sisters of Social Service’s facility and chapel and building an inn and regimental chapel; creating an education centre; improving the 3.76 hectare grounds and opening it up for public use; and establishing a soldier’s centre. RHLI officials say it should take about five years to accomplish their phased plan.

“I’m mesmerized,” said Mountain councillor Tom Jackson. “This is a potentially wonderful relationship.”

Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, who prior to becoming a councillor became involved in an attempt by SISO, once Hamilton’s largest immigrant service, to use Auchmar, said “I have a real soft spot for Auchmar. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

Hamilton’s heritage community was equally pleased with the possibility of finally having a local organization take over a prized mountain heritage site.

“I’m delighted with the (RHLI),” said Dr. Diane Dent, chair of the Friends of Auchmar.

She did have some concerns about the group’s proposed plans, including how the Ontario Heritage Trust’s easement on the property could prevent a few of the ideas from becoming a reality.

Robin McKee, a historian and heritage activist, and a member of the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, said he was “enthusiastic” about the plan.

“It is a great opportunity with a great vision,” he said.

While the RHLI’s proposal provided an opportunity for the city to finally do something with Auchmar after Hamilton acquired it in 1999 and over the years has invested over $2 million into the facility, Mayor Fred Eisenberger wanted to “keep the door open” to other offers.

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead questioned the reasoning to not fully pursue the RHLI offer. He said over the years the city has “exhausted” ever other opportunity.

“We have a great interest here,” he said. “If you want to open up this circus again (referring to any request for proposals), I’m not supporting it.”

 Hamilton heritage staff stated in a report released in January 2016 it will cost about $8 million in capital funding to renovate Auchmar suitable for public and private use. The money is needed for air conditioning, improving the Coach House interior, install fire safety measures , and making sure the facility meets Ontario’s accessibility standards.

RHLI’s Second Lieutenant Richard Moll and Sgt. Brian Buckle, who made their presentation to the GIC, said they have already been discussing Auchmar with possible funding partners to assist in remaking Auchmar.

“We are committed to the integrity of the historical grounds,” said Moll.

Hamilton staff are expected to review the RHLI proposal, as well as any other offer that is submitted to the city. A report will be made to councillors by the end of the year.

Auchmar Estate to remain in public hands while RHLI’s plan draws applause

News Jun 16, 2016 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton politicians may have been “mesmerized” by a proposed plan by the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry to take over the Hon. Isaac Buchanan’s Auchmar Estate and create a museum and brew pub on the property, but they left the door open for the city to seek other offers from the public to use the historic facility.

Councillors agreed at their June 15 general issues committee meeting to keep the city-owned Auchmar Estate in public hands, a decision that pleased heritage activists and the non-profit group Friends of Auchmar. But councillors also gave city staff the leeway to talk to the RHLI about its proposed plan and possible lease arrangements, along with any other group that wants to use Auchmar.

A few councillors said there were “other parties” including the Hamilton-based think-tank Cardus that have expressed an interest in Auchmar.

Most councillors were up beat after listening to the RHLI plan, which calls for spending about $14 million to renovate the manor house, convert the Coach House into a restaurant/brew pub; demolishing the former Hungarian Sisters of Social Service’s facility and chapel and building an inn and regimental chapel; creating an education centre; improving the 3.76 hectare grounds and opening it up for public use; and establishing a soldier’s centre. RHLI officials say it should take about five years to accomplish their phased plan.

“I’m mesmerized,” said Mountain councillor Tom Jackson. “This is a potentially wonderful relationship.”

Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, who prior to becoming a councillor became involved in an attempt by SISO, once Hamilton’s largest immigrant service, to use Auchmar, said “I have a real soft spot for Auchmar. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

Hamilton’s heritage community was equally pleased with the possibility of finally having a local organization take over a prized mountain heritage site.

“I’m delighted with the (RHLI),” said Dr. Diane Dent, chair of the Friends of Auchmar.

She did have some concerns about the group’s proposed plans, including how the Ontario Heritage Trust’s easement on the property could prevent a few of the ideas from becoming a reality.

Robin McKee, a historian and heritage activist, and a member of the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society, said he was “enthusiastic” about the plan.

“It is a great opportunity with a great vision,” he said.

While the RHLI’s proposal provided an opportunity for the city to finally do something with Auchmar after Hamilton acquired it in 1999 and over the years has invested over $2 million into the facility, Mayor Fred Eisenberger wanted to “keep the door open” to other offers.

Mountain councillor Terry Whitehead questioned the reasoning to not fully pursue the RHLI offer. He said over the years the city has “exhausted” ever other opportunity.

“We have a great interest here,” he said. “If you want to open up this circus again (referring to any request for proposals), I’m not supporting it.”

 Hamilton heritage staff stated in a report released in January 2016 it will cost about $8 million in capital funding to renovate Auchmar suitable for public and private use. The money is needed for air conditioning, improving the Coach House interior, install fire safety measures , and making sure the facility meets Ontario’s accessibility standards.

RHLI’s Second Lieutenant Richard Moll and Sgt. Brian Buckle, who made their presentation to the GIC, said they have already been discussing Auchmar with possible funding partners to assist in remaking Auchmar.

“We are committed to the integrity of the historical grounds,” said Moll.

Hamilton staff are expected to review the RHLI proposal, as well as any other offer that is submitted to the city. A report will be made to councillors by the end of the year.