BY ANDREW SMITH
ATWOOD - A downtown Atwood property will be getting a facelift following a decision by North Perth council to proceed with renovation.
Chief building official Ed Podniewicz presented additional options for the property at 220A Main St. in Atwood at the May 6 meeting of council, with considerations for demolition, varying degrees of renovation, and sale of the property. Coun. Matt Richardson said council’s priority for the former Atwood Food Market should be public safety, and that the building needs to be made safe before it creates further issues for the municipality.
“That thing is taking on water like a leaky boat,” Richardson said. “We need to make it water tight, we don’t want to make it a liability situation.”
Mayor Julie Behrns questioned the estimated costs of $100,000 to $200,000 for renovation of the building, which is estimated to be worth $25-35,000 in a safe condition. The interior of the building also represents an unknown factor, and could cause the renovation costs to increase.
“I just question spending money on it when it’s only worth $25,000 to $35,000,” she said. “It could go up, we don’t know what we’re facing.”
Coun. Ken Buchanan said it made sense to look at the option of renovating the building at a cost of $170,000, rather than demolish the building for the same cost and leave a hole in the downtown.
“It was going to cost more to take it down than what we can actually renovate it for,” he said. “Then it can be re-useable as a new library or whatever in the future.”
Buchanan said it would allow the neighbouring North Perth Library branch to expand or move into the newly-renovated space, which is yet to be discussed by the members of the North Perth Library Board.
“The main idea is to try and keep the library in the downtown area, and this would allow that if it in fact does go ahead,” Buchanan said. “That’s not totally decided yet, but at least the building is going to stay there.”
Buchanan made a motion to accept the renovation option, which was passed by council. Buchanan said he’s happy to see something done with the vacant building and improve the Atwood street front.
“It’s an eyesore the way it is,” he said. “I’ve talked to several citizens and they’re quite happy that something is being done.”