Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff
The Heritage Stratford committee is recommending the former locomotive shop, commonly referred to as the Cooper site, be recognized as a site with heritage significance, but says the abandoned structure should not be retained, citing its poor condition and the vast cost of any potential rehabilitation.
In a report to the city’s planning and heritage subcommittee Dec. 20, the committee suggests retention and possible relocation of certain features of the building, including portions of the facade, steel frame and wooden doors, be considered as part of the commemoration of the building.
The committee also asks for a commemoration of the building “that reflects its importance as a major industrial site and employer with the City of Stratford.”
The recommendations closely mirror those released in a city-commissioned study by Goldsmith Borgal and Company Ltd. Architects earlier this year.
That study projected it would cost the city $375,000 to leave but secure the site, and pegged the cost of rehabilitating the building at $4.6 million. Its demolition would cost approximately $1.2 million.
Opinions at a public meeting in July about the future of the site ranged from tearing down the building to fully restoring it. Potential uses for the building suggested included a a railway heritage centre, a parking garage and putting new development underneath the old workshop frame.
Rather than have city council deal with the matter in the near future, subcommittee passed a resolution that Heritage Stratford’s recommendations be deferred until after the city has completed it public consultation process as to the future of the Cooper site.