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#106 2014-05-18 00:43:09

mr.nelson
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Registered: 2008-02-06
Posts: 416

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

CITY OF STRATFORD AGENDA8


REPORT OF THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
5.1 Probable Construction Cost Study – Cooper Site
Objective: To consider a further report on the Cooper Building.
Background and Analysis: At the February 10, 2014 Finance and Labour Relations Committee meeting, presentations on the potential redevelopment of the Cooper Site were heard from Thor Dingman Michael Wilson, and Dean Robinson as well as other presentations.
Mr. Wilson stated that some of the structure can be retained. Suggestions for the site included installing solar panels on top of the structure, a parking garage, and other parking accommodations on the site without removing the building.
Mr. Dingman outlined parking options using different numbers of the bays and estimated possible revenue from vehicles parking in the bays.
The Grand Trunk Railway Site Heritage Committee advocated the retention of the three most easterly bays on the building where a railway steam locomotive could be displayed. The locomotive must be displayed in a protected environment.
The City Finance Committee approved the following referral:
That the Cooper Building Report be referred to staff for further review on the site and report back to the Finance and Labour Relations Committee in 90 days.
Subsequent to that meeting, there were two presentations made at the March 27th meeting of the Planning & Heritage Sub-committee by Alan Waddingham and Roger Hilderley.
At the heart of this issue is what uses can be made of the property. I have given this matter considerable thought given that there has been no decision with regard to the building and considerable discussion about whether there is a viable option that will allow for the retention of part or all of the building.
In order to move this matter along, I proposed that staff consider and report back to sub-committee with regard to what uses could be applied to this property and then obtain costings that would compare these uses being part of an adaptive re-use of all or part of the building compared to a new development. Staff would carefully consider the ideas brought forward and would work towards a reasonable comparison of uses on the site with or without the building.

Financial impact: We would ask that a budget be provided to us to assist us in estimating these costs of $50,000. These estimate of construction costs would not include ongoing maintenance and operation costs.
Staff recommendation: That the City staff proceed to recommend development of public uses on the Cooper Site and that costings be obtained from qualified experts on the development of the site as an adaptive re-use and as new development.

Last edited by mr.nelson (2014-05-18 00:47:03)


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#107 2014-05-20 09:22:06

Stratfordian
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Registered: 2011-11-11
Posts: 127

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

Yawn.

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#108 2014-05-23 14:46:10

spankie
Member
Registered: 2008-01-01
Posts: 1350

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

Tear the superlative deleted piece of crap down once and for all. No more talk.

Last edited by spankie (2014-05-23 14:46:29)

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#109 2014-06-14 21:10:34

mr.nelson
Member
Registered: 2008-02-06
Posts: 416

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

Gazette

The Cooper site.

Heritage designation request gets heated

There was a great deal of confusion and hard-to-define opposition at a Heritage Stratford meeting on Tuesday when delegates from the Grand Trunk Railway Heritage Committee asked the advisory committee to council to begin research into the heritage value of the Cooper site, a possible first step towards official heritage designation of the former locomotive shops.

In the end, the committee got its wish, but not before a lengthy and, at times, contentious debate.

The meeting began with a presentation from Grand Truck representative Dean Robinson, who pointed out that such requests have been made by both property owners and special interest groups in the past. Pending the research, Robinson requested two documents from Heritage Stratford: A statement of heritage distinction, explicitly declaring the former CNR shops are of heritage value, and a list of historical attributes or aspects of the building that have historical value.

“We’re confident that your findings will leave no doubt as to the cultural value of the site,” said Robinson.

Heritage Stratford committee member Cynthia Venables championed Robinson’s request, saying the list of historical aspects could be helpful for when council is trying to decide which aspects to retain for the sake of commemoration.

This decision would be the most important this committee will ever have, she added.

“The last one was in the ’60s with City Hall,” she said, noting the decision to keep that historical building led to a mandate to protect buildings of historical significance.

She also compared the Cooper site to the Musée d’Orsay, a museum in Paris, France housed in a former railway station.

“It was also deemed ugly before the decision was made to renovate it,” she added.

The meeting then took a sudden turn after Coun. Karen Smythe made a motion to receive Robinson’s presentation as information and to send it along to city staff.

That seemed to frustrate Robinson, who barked at the councillor, “Who makes the decision? You or staff?”

“You know about the litigation,” Smythe said to Robinson, alluding to the ongoing dispute between the city and the site’s former owner over compensation. She also wondered aloud whether she, as a city councillor, should be declaring a conflict of interest.

When asked by Robinson whether staff conducts research on potential heritage property, Smythe clarified that the research is typically handled by archive staff.

“Then do that,” said Robinson, who also asked why litigation surrounding the Cooper site should have anything to do with historical designation.

Grand Trunk member Allan Waddingham pointed out that one of the reasons his organization was making the current request was that it’s already been referred to staff twice by other committees.

“And nothing happened,” he said.

Robinson accused council of wanting to demolish the building.

“You can’t say that,” said Smythe. “That was never said.”

Robinson pointed out that when public consultation regarding the Cooper site is removed from the city’s Official Plan and replaced with demolition as a possible outcome, it’s a fair indicator of what council’s intentions are.

“Who owns the property?” he asked. “Why can’t we designate it?”

Committee chair Dave Gaffney then interjected.

“I feel like you’re having an argument that you want to have with council,” he said to Robinson.

“No. You’re the people we have to talk to,” came the response. “You evaluate houses. All we’re asking is that you do that with the site.”

“I’m not sure, but individual taxpayers don’t come in to ask for designation on public property,” said Gaffney, who wondered aloud whether, should the committee grant the request, a new group of citizens would be showing up at the next meeting calling the decision a waste of money.

Committee member Lesley Walker-Fitzpatrick then raised her hand.

“I’m a member of the committee. Why can’t I ask why we can’t designate it?”

Smythe maintained the issue was a question of ownership.

“(Former Cooper site owner) Lawrence Ryan says he wants the property back,” she said. “The question before the courts right now is, who owns the property? I really can’t speak anymore on that. Please respect that,” she pleaded.

“The city says it owns the property,” said Robinson.

“And Ryan says he owns it,” answered Smythe.

Under a barrage of more questions regarding the city’s litigation over the Cooper site, Smythe threw up her hands, declared she had a conflict of interest, and promptly left the meeting.

“Previous city councils made errors with the property, and now we’re left to deal with this problem,” said Lesley Walker-Fitzpatrick afterwards. “We shouldn’t lose the building because of it. I cannot allow another bad decision to be made with this building.”

“I don’t agree at all,” said Gaffney.

After some confusion regarding Smythe’s original motion, which was stricken due to her declaring a conflict of interest, Venables successfully offered a new motion that Heritage Stratford grant the Grand Trunk Railway Heritage Committee’s request.

In interviews following the meeting, both Smythe and CAO Ron Shaw clarified that there was no issue of ownership in regards to the Cooper site; that the city owns it and, in Shaw’s words, “is free to develop it.”

Smythe said her decision to declare a conflict of interest late in the meeting was due to her being somewhat blindsided by Grand Trunk’s request, noting she was expecting a delegation as stated in the agenda and was not prepared for any decision-making at that time.

She added that, in retrospect, she probably shouldn’t have declared a conflict of interest, but that her decision to do so was done as a precaution.

“Without a senior member from the city there to advise us on what the proper procedure would be, I thought maybe I should declare a conflict of interest because, as a councillor, I will ultimately be making a decision on it,” she said.

Last edited by mr.nelson (2014-06-14 21:11:39)


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#110 2014-06-16 12:37:17

spankie
Member
Registered: 2008-01-01
Posts: 1350

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

How many people are on this supposed heritage committee that is holding this whole process up. I thought it was like two people. How can two people be enough of committee to hold up a development? Great now their even bringing in people from other places to express their point. Stay out of Stratford's Business if you don't live here!!

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#111 2014-06-16 12:37:37

Stratfordian
Member
Registered: 2011-11-11
Posts: 127

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

I don't pay taxes in Stratford!
I don't pay taxes in Stratford!
I don't pay taxes in Stratford!

And the band played on.......

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#112 2014-06-19 18:55:53

bulldog
Member
Registered: 2008-03-05
Posts: 665

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

One could argue that everything has cultural value.  the bag of garbage I placed at the curb today has cultural value but lets face it.  We can't afford to save every derelict factory in town.  We have to pay off the debt.   Take a few pieces of concrete and steel off of the building and put them in the parking lot of the museum.......

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#113 2014-06-25 07:46:19

Cougs
Member
Registered: 2011-08-01
Posts: 143

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

A heritage designation could really eff up any chances of getting this horrific eye-sore dealt with. Everyone (except for the heritage people and loopy Ryan) agrees that it's time to get on with it.Take a few of the steel girders and erect some sort of memorial plaque and get it over with, already.

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#114 2014-06-25 19:21:11

spankie
Member
Registered: 2008-01-01
Posts: 1350

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

Time for another homeless person to start a fire. Only way we'll ever be done with it as the City has no backbone and will put the city in debt with endless studies to appease these idiots.

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#115 2014-06-27 18:47:35

bulldog
Member
Registered: 2008-03-05
Posts: 665

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

It's time to stop the madness!!!!!!  Blow it up!  The Steam Locomotive days are over and not coming back...........

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#116 2014-06-29 13:48:08

spankie
Member
Registered: 2008-01-01
Posts: 1350

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

bulldog wrote:

It's time to stop the madness!!!!!!  Blow it up!  The Steam Locomotive days are over and not coming back...........

Plus how much would it cost to buy one and also fix up the building. Is the heritage committed going to pay for it? Where is the city going to continue to get the money for all this insane spending?

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#117 2014-07-19 20:24:36

mr.nelson
Member
Registered: 2008-02-06
Posts: 416

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

http://fm1077stratford.com/news/cooper- … h.vMQKZKEu

The Cooper Site has been named one of Heritage Canada The National Trust’s Top Ten Endangered Places. Rick Huband is the President of the Stratford-Perth County Branch of the Architectural Conserva...


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#118 2014-07-20 13:56:45

bulldog
Member
Registered: 2008-03-05
Posts: 665

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

Hey Rick, why didn't you save Fram.?????????

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#119 2014-07-21 14:42:19

spankie
Member
Registered: 2008-01-01
Posts: 1350

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

Until the Cooper site fiasco gets solved I don't feel we should go ahead with the development of the town square as there is no place else near downtown to have the bus terminal and also to replace the parking spaces being lost. Plus there is still the unknown expense if these loonies win their fight. Why do all these anti anything groups all reside in Stratford? They continue to affect the growth and possible prosperity of this city and the Town council continues to allow it. There should be a law allowing the city to ignore the lunatic fringe if it affects the well being of the rest of us not give them total control of everything in this town. The few controlling everything. Then they wonder why no one comes out when they have meetings about these things. Because we know we won't be listen to because lord forbid if this town had some common sense.

And why do we keep getting TO's trash like Ryan and that other idiot who wants to be major.

Last edited by spankie (2014-07-21 14:43:11)

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#120 2014-10-29 23:52:57

mr.nelson
Member
Registered: 2008-02-06
Posts: 416

Re: Next Steps for Cooper Site

Wednesday, October, 29, 2014 - 3:03:04 PM



Gazette file photo


Gazette file photo

The former GTR shops on the Cooper site.
   
Ryan says millions at stake for city


Chet Greason cgreason@stratfordgazette.com

Those who haven’t been in Stratford long might have heard that the Cooper site issue has been going on a long time. Articles written about the latest study or decision, or lack thereof, regarding the downtown brown field often mention a “former owner” who, according to different city officials, has been holding the development of the site up in court.

On Oct. 20, that same former owner (and, he hopes, future owner,) got tired of what he sees as the one-sided coverage that’s been flying in local media and decided to hold a town hall meeting of his own so he could give his side of the story.

It’s true; the ongoing saga surrounding the Cooper site has been around for a very long time. However, Lawrence Ryan stresses that he is not, in fact, the one holding up the issue in court, and that Stratford taxpayers are “only being hurt by time.”

The expense he said the city incurred when it fought Walmart at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) “…pales in comparison to what we’re going to do.” He added that he has 20,000 documents, “tons” of witnesses, and 17 years of back-and-forth between him and city to draw upon.

At the heart of the matter is a claim made by Ryan seeking to recover costs after the Cooper site was expropriated by the city.

Ryan said the property was originally signed over for the development of the Stratford Institute. While there’s been debate about who exactly was behind the project, be it the University of Waterloo or a private group that included Mayor Dan Mathieson as a director, the reality seems to be, according to Ryan, that it’s unlikely the University of Waterloo will occupy the bulk of the lands.

This, he said, gives him and his wife Wendy rights under sections 41 and 42 of the Ontario Expropriations Act, which state that if expropriated lands are found unnecessary for the purpose for which they were originally taken, the owner may “take the land, estate or interest back, in which case the owner has the right to compensation for consequential damage.”

Ryan said that once the city entered into a memorandum of understanding with Riversedge Development about a private overhaul of the site, a door opened and triggered those rights.

And according to the former owner, the cost of those consequential damages will not come cheap. He hopes to have the city pay him recompense for lost revenue, market value, delay, and legal fees. His original plans for the site included designs for a railway museum and conference centre, designs he plans on being recouped for the cost of having drawn up. Though his legal representatives don’t want him quoting an exact estimate, he said Stratford ratepayers can expect to pay “millions.”

And that number, as well as the interest it’s accumulating, is growing ever bigger as the matter is stretched out over the courts.

Ryan said there are three players at the table in this situation: his family, the taxpayers, and the city council members that originally issued the expropriation in 2002. He encouraged those in attendance to form a citizens’ committee aimed at gathering the involved parties and solving the quagmire; a committee he said he and his wife would be happy to show up for.

He said the whole situation could be resolved quickly if the city would just return his land, minus the 1.3 acres that the University of Waterloo Stratford campus was built upon. The city wouldn’t even have to pay him recompense should this be the route that is chosen. Instead, he’s willing to accept his repayment in the form of tax credits once a fair number has been reached.

Once the land is back in his hands, he plans to resume his development of the site; but he said he needs the citizens of Stratford to help him make such arbitration happen.

“I can’t get council to talk to me,” he said.

To say the issues surrounding the Cooper site are problematic is an understatement. Ryan said he held his town hall meeting at the Pyramid Recreation Centre in nearby St. Marys because at least two private venues in Stratford would not agree to host it.

Where are we now?

According to Ryan, the OMB last demanded the two parties finalize their procedural orders so the hearings could continue. Ryan said his documents have been finished, but the city is refusing to finalize its own, instead demanding that the issue of ownership regarding the 2.5 acres that contain the St. Patrick’s Street parking lot and the University campus, called “the disputed lands,” be put to bed. He said the city is now seeking to address the issue in front of a superior court.

City CAO Ron Shaw disagrees, saying the city has filed all proper documentation. He said that the city does hope to resolve the ownership of the disputed lands before the OMB hearing commences, but that the city is still trying to decide how best to go about dealing with that matter.

Shaw also refuted Ryan’s claims regarding sections 41 and 42 of the Expropriation Act, saying the Minutes of Settlement that was signed didn’t even mention the university in it.

At this point, Ryan said close to $5 million has been paid to him thus far (a sum that doesn’t include the aforementioned 2.5 acres.) He said this money represents payment for the property as well as coverage for his legal fees and other expenses. However, he noted the city is trying to recoup some of this money, claiming the bulk of it represented an interim payment that was paid so they could take possession of the land and commence developing it. Ryan said the city has put a value on the property closer to only $290,000.

Shaw said this isn’t the case, and noted the city had the property appraised two ways: the first as is, which was around $500,000; the second as an environmentally clean property, valued at $4.3 million. He said that, though the land is not environmentally clean, the city decided to pay the latter as there are developments that could go ahead despite the environmental condition of the property.

He confirms that a total approaching $5 million ($4.5 million plus some expenditures) was paid to Ryan, and that the money stands as the city’s perceived value of the property.

Shaw said it will be up to the OMB to decide whether the price is fair, too much, or not enough.

Video online

Ryan had the town hall meeting filmed, the entirety of which is available for viewing on his website, www.rokebyfarms.ca. He said additional documentation will be uploaded to the website over time.

A good deal of information is already available online through the City of Stratford’s website, including Ryan’s 102-page statement of claim.

Who is Daniel Bernard?

As mentioned, there’s been confusion regarding the Stratford Institute for Digital Media. Mayor Dan Mathieson, a director for the company, said it was 100 per cent privately run and provided documentation to the Gazette indicating its sole source of revenue was Open Text Corporation.

His detractors maintain the company was initially a University of Waterloo initiative, which Mathieson chalks up as confusion on their part between two similarly-named entities.

However, there has been some scrutiny over the fact that Mathieson appears on the company’s Industry Canada webpage as “Bernard Daniel,” complete with the mayor’s home address.

Former city councillor Lloyd Lichti, in attendance at Ryan’s town hall meeting, circulated a document to local media regarding the name, raising alarm bells by asking why the mayor “would found a private company in Stratford and NOT use his surname in the official registration of his company.”

In speaking with Mathieson, the Gazette was told the name on the website is a mistake. Mathieson even provided a copy of an application for incorporation of a corporation where his name is clearly stated as Daniel Bernard Mathieson.

“Any reasonable person would realize that’s a clerical or typographical error, unless they want to believe there’s something else there,” he said.

Mathieson added of the matter, “I haven’t given it one ounce of thought.”


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