Minutes of Special Meeting March 4, 2015




A specially-called meeting of the membership was held in the former Blockhouse school, School Road, Blockhouse, Lunenburg Co., on March 4, at 4:00 p.m. The purpose was to assist in determining whether to go forward with conveyance from the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL), if their conditions can be met, or to withdraw at the end of the lease period (April 15, 2015).

Those in attendance: David Cameron, Heather Squires, Heather Holm, Carol Bradley, Lloyd Klassen, Rowan Skinner, David Young, Mykal Koloff, Helga Gruner, Patty McGill, Marielle Troke, Wanda Martell, Caitlin Doucette, Nancy Sherwood, Meredith Bell,  Edith Leopold, Vaughan _, Ann Bromley.

David Cameron circulated the agenda, gave a number of reports from the Board, and chaired the meeting.

POWERPOINT: Heather Squires showed a visual presentation which had been presented to MODL recently.

POSITIVE ACHIEVEMENTS/GROWTH AREAS: Lloyd presented this document (now on the website.)

FINANCIAL SITUATION: Only an incomplete financial statement is available, as the new bookkeeper has just started working with the books. Due to incompatibility of bookkeeping programs, the statement as presented is in the process of being reconstructed. David highlighted the financial hurdles that the project has faced in these first 3 years: the capital expenditure for a septic system, the unexpected amount of MODL’s insurance costs which were downloaded to SSSVC, and the limitations in rental income imposed by the Blockhouse Area Plan and the state of the building. Much of the septic system cost had to be fund-raised, and the effort spent on that project limited other fundraising.

TENANTS’ SITUATION: David Cameron reviewed the situation, with indoor and outdoor (garden) tenants. There is good potential for more tenants but the currently allowed commercial space is occupied and renting more space would need a Development Agreement. The indoor occupants should be given notice if we are withdrawing from the project.

PROGRAMMING: The permaculture design course has been advertised and looks likely to go, June 13-21 at Solomon Brook Farm.

BOARD MEMBERS:  A Secretary-Treasurer is needed. Jeanette Poirier has offered for Treasurer as of April 15, David Cameron will be stepping down from the Board as of April 15.  Interest from the community for new Board members is needed, as well as membership.

Wanda Martell indicated that the group of local people with whom she has been consulting is disappointed at the appearance of the property, and wants the building to be more community-oriented, perhaps with residential and recreational-use components.  The Blockhouse Area Plan would not likely favour more business use. SSSVC members acknowledged that this would have to come through a Development Agreement.

MODL REQUIREMENTS FOR CONVEYANCE: Council would schedule a ‘walk-through’ inspection and a vote on previous milestones, and require a final milestone report (very soon thereafter) and a vote on that. The province requires a review prior to conveyance for less than market value. After that, a decision would be made by MODL. MODL’s most likely alternative is demolition of the building.

BOARD CONCERNS RE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT, MITIGATION, BUILDING CONDITION. An environmental assessment is required before conveyance and re-use. MODL is reluctant to pay for this, although they are now doing so in order to convey other surplus school properties. Due to the building’s age, there is a possibility of oil problems. There are questions of air quality and roof condition, though these are minor in comparison.

DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT IS REQUIRED FOR EXPANDED BUSINESS RENTAL AND ANY CHANGE OF USE.  This would require a detailed proposal including drawings. It would have to be approved by the Blockhouse Area Advisory Committee.

Rowan offered expertise on thorough cleaning of the building and Vaughn offered expertise on roof repair should the project continue.

FEEDBACK REQUEST: The Board asks for feedback as follows:

  • Should SSSVC go forward to request conveyance, or withdraw at the end of the lease period?
  • If the project is to go forward, who will assist? What change of vision may be required and who will forward it?
  • If the project is not to go forward, how can we end the lease well, and who can help.

[These questions will be made into a survey to be posted on the website shortly.]

Several persons expressed their interest in continuing involvement. Wanda indicated she would try to reach her group through email.

The meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

Minutes by: Mykal Koloff, Carol Bradley, edited by Heather Holm

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