Jeff Green | Jun 04, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - June 4, 2009 Addington Highlands CouncilBy Jeff Green
Derelict schoolhouse sparks concern in Flinton
Driving into Flinton from the east on County Road 29, the unmistakable shape of a 1950s era school house appears on the left. But the reality that the former Flinton schoolhouse is in terrible shape is almost immediately apparent.
Boards cover the doors, windows are smashed, and the grass has not been cut this year. On closer inspection it is clear that the building is completely derelict; the roof is gone in places, as are the floors, and there are signs that animals have moved in.
It is the sad end of a building that once was alive with the sounds of grade school children. When the school closed in 1972, it was sold to the Reverends Elgin and Beula Fisher from Sharbot Lake, who had the intention of opening a Christian school for handicapped children at the site.
The Flinton Christian Academy was a project that never really took off, and while Beula and Elgin Fisher tried to keep the building from falling into disrepair, vandalism became common at the site. As the couple aged it became more and more difficult to keep the building from falling apart completely.
Elgin died in 2005 at the age of 87, and Beula now resides at the Sharbot Lake Seniors' home.
Meanwhile the building has become a safety concern as well as a political issue.
Carolyn Hasler and Robert Wood, from the Flinton Community Policing Association, appeared before Addington Highlands Council this week to talk about their concerns about the property.
Among other things they told council that the liaison officer to their association became concerned about the schoolhouse, and paid a visit. He heard noises and found a man using the building as a convenient place to take drugs. An arrest was made.
“Our concerns are not just that the building is an eyesore but that it is not safe. If people wander in there they could be in danger,” said Carolyn Hasler.
The township’s building inspector and bylaw officer Eric Sheppey agreed with what Hasler had said.
He reported that he has tried to approach Mrs. Fisher about the state of the building but a registered letter that he sent was returned unopened.
Sheppey went to visit Mrs. Fisher but reported that she “could not adhere to what I was saying.”
Sheppey then tried to communicate with Mrs. Fisher through Susan Irwin, the Executive Director of Rural Legal Services in Sharbot Lake, but Irwin told him “she was not able to converse with Mrs. Fisher.”
Sheppey said he has been getting prices on “securing the old school”, at which time the township’s lawyer will be contacted on the “proper procedures re: costs being placed on the tax bill.”
Over the past few years there has been interest in the property from several directions. In addition to the building, there is a fair bit of acreage at the back, and the property abuts the township-owned recreation centre property.
The proprietors of the Through the Roof Ministries, located next door, had reportedly expressed interest in the property, as has the Flinton Recreation Committee.
The building however, remains the responsibility of Mrs. Fisher at this time.
There is no doubt that the image of Flinton would be enhanced if the building were demolished and the property redeveloped.
Other former school buildings in Addington Highlands have escaped the fate of the Flinton schoolhouse.
The Kaladar Community Centre and the Northbrook Lions’ Hall are both located in former schools, according to Carolyn Hasler, and the Land O' Lakes Inn in Cloyne, which is now for sale, is also located in a former school.
The issue of the Flinton school is surfacing just as the Limestone Board prepares to sell off the Denbigh School.
Swim club donation on hold – Addington Highlands Council, June 1, 2009
The Mazinaw Lake swim program sent in a request for a cash donation towards swimming lessons this year. The cost of the program, $65 for four weeks, does not cover the cost to deliver the program to area children, and while fundraising covers some of the extra costs, a donation from the township would help the program make ends meet.
“There are many children in your area that would greatly benefit from a donation by your organisation,” said a letter to council from Chelsea Dacuk, the swim program supervisor.
In considering the proposal, the fact that the program is not offered in the Denbigh area was raised. Council decided to contact Chelsea Dacuk to see why swimming classes are not offered in the North, which would save the need for bussing, before coming to a decision regarding funding.
ROAD PAVING TENDER
Addington Highlands will continue the established practice of accepting road paving tenders prepared for the entire County of Lennox and Addington.
“Greenwood Paving has agreed to keep to the same price as last year,” said Roads Supervisor Royce Rosenblath. The township will spend $60,000 on paving this year, which is on par with budget estimates. The Weslemkoon and Jacques Bay roads, and the portion of Granny’s Lane that the township owns will be re-paved this year. The township has a 10-year road paving schedule to cover all the township's paved roads, and this year’s roads fit into that plan.
GRADER TENDER ACCEPTED
The township will be purchasing a new John Deere grader in the coming weeks, as per the 2009 budget. The tender price came in on budget.
DENBIGH SCHOOLHOUSE – Taking note that the Limestone District School Board has called a public meeting on June 15 in Denbigh to discuss the formal closing of the Denbigh school, Reeve Hogg asked council if he should attend to make a presentation from the township.
The school ceased operations several years ago as bussing children to North Addington Education Centre in Cloyne gained popularity and enrolment slipped below 10 students.
Now the school board will be considering whether to close the school and sell the building.
Henry Hogg said he intends to argue that the township should have the right of first refusal should the building be sold because it has made investments in the school over the years.
The public meeting coincides with the next scheduled Addington Highlands Council meeting, which had been scheduled for 7:00 pm on June 15 at the Denbigh Hall. The council meeting will be put off until 8:00 p.m. to allow Hogg and other members of council to attend the public meeting.
E-WASTE DEPOTS – E-waste recycling has been approved for the Kaladar waste site, and an approval for the Vennachar site is pending. However, at the Mackavoy site there has been a delay due to the wording of the certificate of approval for that site from the Ministry of the Environment, which might take some time to clear up.
CONSTRUCTION STYROFOAM REJECTED BY RECYCLER – A load of waste styrofoam from a construction project using an alternative building system has been rejected by the township’s recycler. The adhesive used on the styrofoam makes recycling impossible. The township will begin charging tipping fees for the material.