Consultant lays out options for Cooper site
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Oct 22, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Consultant lays out options for Cooper site

Stratford Gazette

Chet Greason

A consulting firm has advised Stratford City council that its best course of action regarding the Cooper site would be to tear the majority, if not all, of the standing structure down.

"It's in God awful shape," Lee Parsons, of Malone Given Parsons Ltd, said candidly during a presentation Oct. 15.

Parsons recognized the historical significance of the site, noting it's worthy of commemoration. But he added the building's restoration was "unfeasible."

As his firm sees it, there are three options for the site's future usage:

Option one is large-scale adaptive reuse, an option that Parsons said has "no obvious prospects" due to cost, contamination, and the sheer scope of having to find something to fit in the massive, empty factory.

He noted a number of ideas, generated at public meetings, were brought forward, such as a railway museum or residential/retail space. However, Parsons said locomotives left to rust outdoors are a liability issue, and the environmental contamination in the building would make the transition to residential or retail space extremely costly.

Option two is to retain a part of the building, Parsons suggested three of the factory's bays be used as an onsite museum. He said this plan was potentially viable.

Option three is the complete removal of the building, with certain key elements kept to be reused in a brand new structure as a form of commemoration. With this option, Parsons also advised removing the wall south of the property.

"South of the tracks is a really nice community … but at the end of the street is that wall."

He called the wall a "monolith," adding, "it'd be great not to have that."

While noting it was not his firm's place to recommend one option over another, Parsons aid option three was the most flexible and the one his whole team favoured.

Council will decide on the future use of the site at a later date.

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