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Thread: High repair costs make future uncertain for historic downtown McDougall United Church

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    Default High repair costs make future uncertain for historic downtown McDougall United Church

    High repair costs make future uncertain for historic downtown McDougall United Church
    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/...674/story.html

    EDMONTON - Historic McDougall United Church could face demolition because nobody appears willing to pay the massive cost of restoration work, a city report says.

    The 105-year-old red brick structure requires $18.4 million to $25.4 million in repairs over the next seven years, double previous estimates.

    That’s far beyond the capacity of the roughly 140 parishioners who attend services each Sunday, says the report released Thursday.

    “If the church is unable to find the (money) required to make the building safe and usable, selling the property may be the best option,” the report says.

    “However, it is unlikely that any potential purchaser will restore the church … likely, the building will be demolished and the land used for other purposes.”
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    $25.4 million !! Wow. Well if its that much just sell it, for the land, and build a nice small church for 150 people on the edge of town somewhere I guess. It seems like I high number. Maybe a contractor saw you coming. I think you could knock it down and build a better church in it's place for a lot less than that. Out where I'm from we build churches cheap because it's all volunteer labour, and cheap and donated type deals on materials. I sure do not claim to be any kind of an expert. Just saying, Voicing my opinion.
    Last edited by Drumbones; 19-02-2015 at 11:53 PM.

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    So typical of this city. Our connection to history is irreparably damaged every time one of these sites gets demolished. I've looked at black and white photos of Edmonton and wondered what it would be like if those old buildings were still around! I've been down east and those old buildings give real character to their cities. Here, 60s/70s crap is what's considered historic. And yet this bs continues! Just witness what the U of A is doing with those old houses on the northeast end of campus- they're the latest victims of this "tear down, make profit" society. No, even our "enlightened" university isn't above this crap.

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    If the congregation would sell it to the city, I would support it being upgraded as a chamber music and lecture hall.

    Would also suggest they look into monetising their parking lot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayBee View Post
    If the congregation would sell it to the city, I would support it being upgraded as a chamber music and lecture hall.

    Would also suggest they look into monetising their parking lot.
    25 million seems excessive, but it certainly a nice building and worth saving. I'd be ok with the city buying it and turning it into a venue. Maybe demo the attached office and parking lot and build something worthwhile.

    This is the problem with these big old churches. Retrofitting them for a different use is challenging. I saw an ad for one in New Brunswick, about the same size as this, maybe bigger with more woodwork inside, selling for $1. Just the structure, you had to pay to move it.
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    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmont...port-1.2964678

    The future of Edmonton’s historic McDougall United Church is up in the air after a city report doubled the estimated cost of repairs.

    Experts who reviewed the 105-year-old building say the inside is in serviceable condition, but that the exterior, annex and carriage house are all in need of major work. Likewise, the church’s electrical and mechanical system were found to be in poor condition.

    The estimated cost to cover all the repair work needed: $18.4 to $25.5 million — doubling that of previous estimates.

    At present, no one has stepped forward to help cover the costs.

    Although Coun. Mike Nickel said it would be heartbreaking for the building to be demolished, he doesn't think it's up to the city to step in and save the church.

    "The people who've run it have left it in the state and condition where now — it is near the end of its life cycle. Yeah, it's an important historic building but you know what, taxpayers can't do everything."

    If the church is unable to find the money to do the work, the report suggests selling it may be the best option. However, the report notes that a future buyer would likely demolish the church and use the land for other purposes.

    A second option proposed in the report would be to restore some of the church’s best architectural features for inclusion in a new building on site.

    The report will be discussed at city hall on Tuesday.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Those aren't repair costs. Those are "upgrade to like-new condition and meet current building code" numbers.

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    This is a tough one. Likely $25 million, even over 7 years is too much.

    OTOH, if there's a possibility some of the land (parking lot) could be sold to raise money - and the scale of the project is cut back some - maybe.

    Never been to a production there, but will take the word of those who have, which seems to be universal praise.

    Like I say, tough call.
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    If memory serves, the congregation did try to sell it to the City for a dollar. But I think part of that deal was they got to use it as a church for a very modest rental fee. I think there's be more support (I'm not sure if *enough* support) to turn it into a small concert venue.

    Eve

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    The female side of my brain changed its mind. I now think it should be saved, just have it in writing it is never to be sold. Part of our history, save it. It is a beautiful church.

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    I want a way so this building is restored, however I'm scratching my head how to do this. The only way I can imagine is donations. I suppose it is possible for the Roxy to move here but even then live theater is a very low profit business so they might fill the seats but they wouldn't be able to come up with $20 million.

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    One of the best places for live music (of all kinds) and a great connection to our turn-of-the-century history of pioneer churches. Good luck ol' chum...
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    Turning it into a live venue would be ideal, but in reality is that going to repair and maintain the building? Who would run it - the city or a private owner?

    Although I'm not a big fan of facadism, would incorporating it into the podium of a new office/hotel tower be the solution? My favorite example of this is the Hockey Hall of Fame building in Toronto, and the KR tower is doing likewise. Plus it can eat up that parking lot between there and First & Jasper.
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    The reason that I think that facadism would be particularly tragic for this venue is that all reports say that the acoustics are wonderful. It would make a lovely space for chamber music and similar.

    But the money. I don't know.

    Eve

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    ^Already does do great for chamber music and other genres. That's the shame.
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    The news report I heard seems to indicate that the insides are in pretty good shape. It's the outside and the utilities that are shot.

    That wasn't the situation with the Kelly Ramsey and similar run-down properties. The part we want to save in the church is the *inside*.

    Eve

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    It sounds like we need a visionary member of the public with deep pockets, an eye for history, and maybe a bit wanting something named after them self, to step up and fund this as a concert hall. Katz Music Hall and Theatre perhaps?

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    If only there were a bunch of rich, arts-lovin' folk in town who could contribute to a trust fund to repair and maintain existing venues?

    Nahhhh, they'll just build shiny, new venues based on sketchy financing proposals. Don't worry everyone the Galleria will make you forget all about that dusty old church.

    How much did they want from the city to build a pedway for the delicate cello's and viola's and such?

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    Where the heck did that come from?

    EDACC serves entirely different needs than this ever could.
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    I would much rather see this church upgraded and repurposed rather than some shiny tin added to the library.

    As for repurposing - the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame did a great job with the church in TO.

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    Councilor Scott McKeen just got interviewed on the CHED Afternoon News on this topic. He stated that there is no way the city could pay the whole $40 million, but he hoped look for other options for funding, like private donations. He also wanted to find the cost of preserving the main building alone, while removing the annex and carriage house that were added later. He said council encourged email feedback to your councillor whether or not to preserve the church, and requested the communications be "brief" and "polite".

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    ^ It's up to 40 mil already? I heard 25 mil on CTV News not two hours ago.
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    ^ I believe the $25 figure is the "transformational reno" cost.

    Perhaps he misspoke $14 million, which I think is the "building code reno"

    Or perhaps there's a $15M purchase price on the cost of the reno?
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    I believe the MacDougall Church is outside of the Community Revitalization Zone (anchored by Rogers Place). Are there other possible sources of revenue?
    Last edited by The_Cat; 21-02-2015 at 11:28 PM.
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    The United Church of Canada's operating budget in 2009 (the latest I could find) was in excess of $40,000,000. I'm sure they could pony up some of the cost of repair.
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    ^I doubt they could afford much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River Valley Green View Post
    Just witness what the U of A is doing with those old houses on the northeast end of campus- they're the latest victims of this "tear down, make profit" society. No, even our "enlightened" university isn't above this crap.
    Those houses were unused for years and were also offered for free... no one took them. That space is for a new center. They weren't exactly the greatest in architectural shape either.

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    As much as I'd like to see the Roxy stay on 124th st, I wonder of this could be repurposed into a theatre. Close to the LRT, parking nearby. Use the insurance money for part of the work and get the rest from government & donations. If the church donated it or sold it for $1 I'm sure that they could work out something to use it for Sunday morning services when the theatre isn't is use anyway.

    Two birds, one stone.

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    ^ as innovative as Theatre Network can be (incredibly), I suspect even they wouldn't want to work with that organ on the stage, yet it doesn't make sense to pay for removal when it would be far more expensive to install for a chamber music venue, which we could also use.

    The Paramount would actually work better, although far from ideal.
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    A church is good for some concerts and performances, but for others, it's horrible. Lots of right angles, hard surfaces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howie View Post
    The United Church of Canada's operating budget in 2009 (the latest I could find) was in excess of $40,000,000. I'm sure they could pony up some of the cost of repair.
    Quote Originally Posted by etownboarder View Post
    ^I doubt they could afford much.
    Odd, that. You'd think that mother church would throw in something to keep one of their own branches going. Maybe momma don't love them any more.
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    If that's the national operating budget (which pays for all the churches and salaries) that's not very much money.

    Eve

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    Edmonton councillors take one final shot at saving historic McDougall Church
    http://metronews.ca/news/edmonton/12...ougall-church/

    McDougall United Church was put on its last hope and last prayer Tuesday, as city councillors asked administration to work on one last-ditch effort to save the building.

    Councillors debated a new report from administration on the future of the century-old church and moved to form a community effort to save the building.

    Mayor Don Iveson said it would take a concentrated effort from the church, the provincial government, the city and the broader community.

    “This is the last swing at this. If we swing and miss again, everyone has to be prepared that we are going to lose this building,” he said.

    Repairs at the building that were initially estimated at between $8 million and $12 million are now pegged at somewhere between $18 million and $24 million. City administration also told council that they estimate the downtown land would be worth at least $7 million if the church was removed and the site redeveloped.

    In addition to working on a community effort to save the building, Iveson’s motion proposes preparing a historical designation for the building.

    Iveson said that designation would need to be part of any deal to save the church.

    “The city can not provide money to the congregation without a historical designation. I can’t be any more clear about that,” said Iveson.

    Church treasurer Greg Greenough said the church absolutely believes the building needs to be protected, but they also want to make sure that designation will come with a plan for preservation.

    “The congregation is concerned because it is our home,” he said.

    He said the church got as much as they could have asked for from council on Tuesday and he hopes now people will rally to save the building.

    “If we drop the ball, I am not sure we will have the opportunity to pick it up again.”
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    one if the things that I find frustrating here is that the taxpayer has subsidized the church for some 110 plus years by forgoing the collection of any property taxes and now they want to decline a heritage designation because it will reduce the market value of the land underlying the physical asset that they have not adequately maintained.

    yes, the church in more than one way has been an asset to the community at large and the building should continue to be an asset and is probably more than worthy of some additional public investment but for the church - not just the local congregation - to take what they have taken (and to continue to take what they take on every church site within the city) and now not be willing to reinvest in what we have built with them because that and a historic designation might negatively affect the value of the land i find somewhat distasteful.

    if the church - and i'm referencing the larger umbrella here, not the current mcdougall congregation within it - wants to use their activities and their buildings to speculate in and profit from the real estate market and act like any other property owner, then maybe they should pay taxes the same as any other property owner on all of those assets.

    in this particular case, i think the church is failing the community at large by expecting the community at large to pay for their deferred maintenance. unfortunately this particular case is not unique. the same could be said for many of our older churches and for many of our older schools (such as norwood ), for many of our community league buildings and even for structures such as the rossdale power plant where at the end of the day the city is expected to bail them out or the city is considered the bad guy.
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    Yes indeed. Mother Church could, and should, throw in some dollars on this from their $40,000,000 (2009 figure) annual operating budget.
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    Why not gut the church but use the outer shell and build a high rise on it, in it, around it. The state it is in on the outside seems to me it could be an accident waiting to happen. Why cater to the church. If they could not look after it themselves they should have sold it long ago or actively tried to raise the funds.
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    in this particular case, i think the church is failing the community at large by expecting the community at large to pay for their deferred maintenance. unfortunately this particular case is not unique. the same could be said for many of our older churches and for many of our older schools (such as norwood ), for many of our community league buildings and even for structures such as the rossdale power plant where at the end of the day the city is expected to bail them out or the city is considered the bad guy.
    I'm a little confused by this... Norwood school is still an operating school and is maintained by the school board. Is the city being asked to pay for deferred maintenance in that facility ? What about the historic schools like Parkdale or McKay that are currently underutilized, I think those are the responsibility of the school boards as well. The board may not be doing a great job of maintaining those facilities, but I don't beleive the city is being asked to pay at this point

    The difference with the community league buildings is that they are city owned. The bigger issue is that boards, with little to no knowledge of building operations or how to maintain, certify and upgrade buildings are being tasked with doing that without the proper tools to do so effectively
    Parkdale

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    I think this building will really examine and challenge what people wish to save in heritage buildings, for, in this case, the treasure is what's inside more than outside. The inside is a great acoustic concert hall with great intact architectural features of building's use and time. The outside too deserves preservation, but when one "guts" it to save the look of it from the inside then the many reasons why people wish to see it saved vanishes quite a bit.

    One on the side of the fence for interior preservation more than what's on the outside. The outside could be "fooled" with and altered, but it's what's on the inside that has made me love this building. Many concerts on many genres enjoyed there. Great sound. Great atmosphere. Unique in Edmonton.
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    ^^^^^Ken, your post got me thinking about the general property-tax-free status of Churches and other non-profit entities, and I have to agree with you. There's nothing wrong with a church taking profit on property they own, of course, and as Augustana Lutheran's recent sale and disbursement of the proceeds has shown, they can be very good about the process.
    On the other hand, it's not like the Church has created that value. It's value that's created by the church's surroundings, which is why McDougall Church's land is worth $7m and your average rural church's land is worth about $15,000, if that. Like a speculator who watches his property value increase as improvements to nearby properties make the whole neighbourhood more attractive, the value here is a result of everything else that's going on around it. In this case proximity to the heart of downtown and a river-valley view a big factors in the high price. On the other hand, unlike the owner of a vacant lot, this church has been providing benefits to the public beyond their own community. In the past the moral education provided by churches was considered a public service. The church's current use as a concert and rehearsal venue is a public service that, if it were not provided by McDougall and a handful of other churches, there would be a need for the city to provide that space, probably at a higher cost than the exempted taxes on McDougall, 1st Presbyterian and the Anglican cathedral combined.

    Here is a document listing all the various non-profits that are exempt from taxes. Interestingly, Churches are the only one that is required to use associated property for parking if it is to be considered non-taxable, as far as I could find.


    I think it would be reasonable to tax all of these exempted (by provincial law, not municipal) based on land value only, exclusive of buildings and improvements, and at the same rate as residential. That would put their property tax burden roughly equal to that borne by the owner of a parking lot paying the commercial rate by deducting the cost against income taxes. The city could provide a further reduction in rate by deferring a portion until sale of the property, effectively cancelling the taxes for foundations that intend to maintain their property and occupy in perpetuity, and reducing the speculative reward for those who intend to "cash out".



    Regarding this church in particular, I don't think that it's fair to claim that there's significant deferred maintenance. There has been next to nothing in the way of upgrades, but from what I've seen of the building (looking around the outside, and attending a couple concerts) it's in reasonable shape for an original 100-year-old-building.

    i'd like to the city take control for $1 with the promise to maintain the building and allow the congregation to remain for a reasonable rent, and then sell the parking lot to fund the basic upgrades. Too bad Educational institutions are also tax exempt including on parking and speculative land (land banking) if only active educational facilities were tax exempt, McEwan might be enticed to sell the Alberta College parking lot immediately north of McDougall United church, The two lots combined would be an excellent development site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 240GLT View Post
    in this particular case, i think the church is failing the community at large by expecting the community at large to pay for their deferred maintenance. unfortunately this particular case is not unique. the same could be said for many of our older churches and for many of our older schools (such as norwood ), for many of our community league buildings and even for structures such as the rossdale power plant where at the end of the day the city is expected to bail them out or the city is considered the bad guy.
    I'm a little confused by this... Norwood school is still an operating school and is maintained by the school board. Is the city being asked to pay for deferred maintenance in that facility ? What about the historic schools like Parkdale or McKay that are currently underutilized, I think those are the responsibility of the school boards as well. The board may not be doing a great job of maintaining those facilities, but I don't beleive the city is being asked to pay at this point

    The difference with the community league buildings is that they are city owned. The bigger issue is that boards, with little to no knowledge of building operations or how to maintain, certify and upgrade buildings are being tasked with doing that without the proper tools to do so effectively
    Wasn't there a request to help with the McKay School? or did it not get that far?

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    McKay (avenue) school is a historic resource non? EPSB maintains it, but not as a school, rather as the home of Alberta's first legislature.

    As the city gets no taxes from the church, how 'bout a tax credit to some developer to maintain the hall while building whatever would create the best profit around and above the hall?

    That'd be win-win wouldn't it?
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    It could work, but it sound more complicated and less transparent than a simple city takeover and parking lot sale

  45. #45

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    I agree with Ken and Highlander that the right thing for the congregation to do is transfer ownership to the City, while the right thing for the city to do is steward the facility with a responsibility to its architectural history, with an allowance for the congregation.

    The historical tax deference has never been intended to lead to land plays with a beloved historical asset in the crossfire.
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    The whole idea of DT residency began with Railtown, which in turn began with a tax break.

    In this case, why should the city take on all the risk? From all I can see, we're trying to save a part of the church, not all of it.

    Hey, I'm no developer so I could be totally out to lunch. But I also wouldn't dismiss the idea out-of-hand.
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    If you're referring to me, I wasn't intending to dismiss your idea, I hadn't reloaded this thread since your post before I started composing mine.

    To me though, a private deal where the hall is maintained as a historical asset could work as well. Either way, as long as we keep and utilise the building, and develop the parking lot, all my boxes will be ticked off.
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    We're good - no issue at all!
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    Quote Originally Posted by 240GLT View Post
    in this particular case, i think the church is failing the community at large by expecting the community at large to pay for their deferred maintenance. unfortunately this particular case is not unique. the same could be said for many of our older churches and for many of our older schools (such as norwood ), for many of our community league buildings and even for structures such as the rossdale power plant where at the end of the day the city is expected to bail them out or the city is considered the bad guy.
    I'm a little confused by this... Norwood school is still an operating school and is maintained by the school board. Is the city being asked to pay for deferred maintenance in that facility ? What about the historic schools like Parkdale or McKay that are currently underutilized, I think those are the responsibility of the school boards as well. The board may not be doing a great job of maintaining those facilities, but I don't beleive the city is being asked to pay at this point

    The difference with the community league buildings is that they are city owned. The bigger issue is that boards, with little to no knowledge of building operations or how to maintain, certify and upgrade buildings are being tasked with doing that without the proper tools to do so effectively
    oops... i meant the mckay avenue school (which is still fundraising after received a provincial historic designation and some grant funds to address deferred maintenance postponed by the epsb), not norwood, but the original sentiment still stands.
    Last edited by kcantor; 25-02-2015 at 07:34 PM.
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    Sometime back Mr. Cantor made the statement (or one to the effect of)...

    We know the price of everything...but the value of nothing (apologies if I botched that up Ken).

    I think that is fitting for this conversation as I believe what happens to this piece of our built history (along with the Rossdale Plant and site) is going to set the precedent for what we as a City (both the City as a municipality, the corporations and citizens)do in the future with what is left of our history, built and our forebears stories.

    In my highly biased personal opinion
    Last edited by Thomas Hinderks; 25-02-2015 at 11:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Hinderks View Post
    Sometime back Mr. Cantor made the statement (or one to the effect of)...

    We know the price of everything...but the value of nothing (apologies if I botched that up Ken).

    I think that is fitting for this conversation as I believe what happens to this piece of our built history (along with the Rossdale Plant and site) is going to set the precedent for what we as a City (both the City as a municipality, the corporations and citizens)do in the future with what is left of our history, built and our forebears stories.

    In my highly biased personal opinion
    you didn't botch it up - that's a pretty good quote and unfortunately it still applies here and elsewhere more than it should.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    This is the perfect test case for heritage preservation. Unlike the power plant, or the Glenora Bistro, or the Kelly Ramsey buildings or the brewery building, this church is still fit for its original use and continues to have a secondary use as a small concert hall. Facadism would be absurb in this case.

    Eve

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    I don't know how often it is used as a concert hall but those concerts could have been used to solicit donations for the buildings repairs. I'm not saying force people to donate but maybe a donation box at the door or past around during an interval. It seems the church has done very little in the way of trying to help itself in the way of fund raising.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini View Post
    I don't know how often it is used as a concert hall but those concerts could have been used to solicit donations for the buildings repairs. I'm not saying force people to donate but maybe a donation box at the door or past around during an interval. It seems the church has done very little in the way of trying to help itself in the way of fund raising.
    Gemini

    Not that I disagree with you and the point you are making but...

    This is really no longer about the church or even if they get any form of continued use of the facility.

    It is about the building's importance as a piece of built heritage and the greater history it represents.

    Look back over the threads in the various forums at what Edmonton (as a whole) has
    chosen to destroy or allow to be destroyed by design or neglect. All the historical features of significance that cannot be replaced at any cost.

    That is why how, in my mind, the Church and Rossdale building and site will set the stage for how our history will be treated in the future.

    Again

    We know the price of everything and the value of nothing....or are we changing?

    In my highly biased personal opinion

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    If this church gets torn down thats just not cool, I feel like its an important landmark.. Put a park there Not a Parking lot
    . ... Is the city just gonna put it up at fort Edmonton park too, though ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by River Valley Green View Post
    So typical of this city. Our connection to history is irreparably damaged every time one of these sites gets demolished. I've looked at black and white photos of Edmonton and wondered what it would be like if those old buildings were still around! I've been down east and those old buildings give real character to their cities. Here, 60s/70s crap is what's considered historic. And yet this bs continues! Just witness what the U of A is doing with those old houses on the northeast end of campus- they're the latest victims of this "tear down, make profit" society. No, even our "enlightened" university isn't above this crap.
    Is it any wonder this city is the sterile and very boring edifice it is? No imagination nor investment in our heritage.
    Make the RIGHT choice before you take your last breath......

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    While I agree we should be preserving our older buildings the congregation of McDougall seem to want it all their own way. They do not want the church to be designated as a heritage site as they will loose control of it. They want the city to fix it up and then want to still hold services without paying rent to do so. I think they should go to their greater church community and solicit funds that way. If they have to go Canada wide then so be it. If they cannot be bothered to find a solution why should the tax payers have to foot the bill for their complacency. If it's deemed a heritage building and/or the city takes over let the congregation find another place to worship. If it's a small congregation why do they need a huge church like that to hold services in. Keep the church as a concert hall etc. I would like to see the building saved but I don't want to subsidize they church congregation simply because of the fact they have done very little to help themselves. If they had of listed the ways they have tried to raise money people would have a bit more sympathy for them.
    Last edited by Gemini; 28-02-2015 at 05:17 PM.
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    Interesting discussion isn't it. We seem to be loosing a lot of old churches these days. Maybe going forward all churches should be required to pay taxes and those funds could be put into dedicated funds to be used for future historical purposes such as buy outs of properties, museums, etc.

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    I fail to understand why the City doesn't accept the offer to purchase the building and land for a dollar and then rent the church back to the congregation for a reasonable cost. The City could then designate the church as a historic site and thereby access renovation dollars from other orders of government.

    Even in the worst case scenario where the building can't be renovated or creatively incorporated into a larger development like Garneau United or All Saints Cathedral (which I frankly don't think is the case), the City ends up owning one of the most valuable parcels of real estate in the downtown.

  60. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    I fail to understand why the City doesn't accept the offer to purchase the building and land for a dollar and then rent the church back to the congregation for a reasonable cost. The City could then designate the church as a historic site and thereby access renovation dollars from other orders of government.

    Even in the worst case scenario where the building can't be renovated or creatively incorporated into a larger development like Garneau United or All Saints Cathedral (which I frankly don't think is the case), the City ends up owning one of the most valuable parcels of real estate in the downtown.
    The City then assumes the huge liability to renovate the building. Might be just another case where the city stays out of it all together, the building gets torn down , we post a few pictures of it in a museum and the city moves on. Do we really miss all the great old buildings we've aready lost? I don't see people, companies, the governments or organizations trying to make modern replicas of any of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    I fail to understand why the City doesn't accept the offer to purchase the building and land for a dollar and then rent the church back to the congregation for a reasonable cost. The City could then designate the church as a historic site and thereby access renovation dollars from other orders of government.

    Even in the worst case scenario where the building can't be renovated or creatively incorporated into a larger development like Garneau United or All Saints Cathedral (which I frankly don't think is the case), the City ends up owning one of the most valuable parcels of real estate in the downtown.
    The church does not want to sell. It knows the land the church sits on is valuable. They don't want to loose that approx. $7 million the land is worth. It wants to city to fix the property but the church still wants to own it. If it is designated a historical building the church will loose some control of it. What the church wants is it's cake and be able to eat it. It wants the church repaired at no cost to them but it also wants to keep control of it.
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    ^The $1 sale offer has been well documented, mostly recently on page 2 of the Administration Report to Executive Committee last week.

    To clarify my earlier post, there should be ways of either renovating at least the main sanctuary of McDougall Church or creatively including it in a larger development (for example, a continuing care centre located on the north parking lot).
    Last edited by East McCauley; 01-03-2015 at 01:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Do we really miss all the great old buildings we've aready lost? I don't see people, companies, the governments or organizations trying to make modern replicas of any of them.
    Interesting comment....

    Would the grand Cities of Europe be the Grand Cities of Europe if they had not saved their historic architecture?

    Would they be the attraction they are?

    As to replicating...in a world driven by ROI and bottom line do you really think anyone would invest the the additional dollars to recreate the build and style?

    It certainly would not add to the bottom line. Price of Everything...Value of nothing comes to mind.

    As to what we have lost and if it is missed....how many on this forum ever saw the Grand buildings of our past? My bet is less that 20-25% of this forum and with the way the region has grown in the last decade I would bet the percentage of the public is much smaller.

    If you had never known about the buildings and never seen them then why would you care?

    Yet as each bit of preservable history disappears a piece of our collective history and identity goes with it.

    Shame

    In my highly biased personal opinion

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    So there is a group that has now been formed called friends of McDougall.

    https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofMcDougall?fref=ts

    http://friendsofmcdougall.nationbuilder.com/

    On one side it sounds like a great cause to save the building. On the other side it also sounds like a very big undertaking that will take a few miracles to have it succeed. Considering that UCAMA needs to raise 2 or 3 million and they are not certain how well that will go, McDougall needs potentially up to 25 million.

    Other thing, and now I'm playing devils advocate sorta, if this money is raised, will the current owners of the building seek historical designation for the building, or will it be kept as is in regards to it's designation and therefore its protection?
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    6 major problems with McDougall Church
    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/busin...408/story.html
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    I don't hold out much faith on that stuff (whatever it is) that is supposed to catch those bricks if they come loose. Looks very flimsy to me.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/busin..._lsa=16ce-8625
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Hinderks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Do we really miss all the great old buildings we've aready lost? I don't see people, companies, the governments or organizations trying to make modern replicas of any of them.
    Interesting comment....

    Would the grand Cities of Europe be the Grand Cities of Europe if they had not saved their historic architecture?

    Would they be the attraction they are?

    As to replicating...in a world driven by ROI and bottom line do you really think anyone would invest the the additional dollars to recreate the build and style?

    It certainly would not add to the bottom line. Price of Everything...Value of nothing comes to mind.

    As to what we have lost and if it is missed....how many on this forum ever saw the Grand buildings of our past? My bet is less that 20-25% of this forum and with the way the region has grown in the last decade I would bet the percentage of the public is much smaller.

    If you had never known about the buildings and never seen them then why would you care?

    Yet as each bit of preservable history disappears a piece of our collective history and identity goes with it.

    Shame

    In my highly biased personal opinion
    Im always astounded by how few people have much imagination at all. They only see what they see. The grand buildings you talk about are often ripped down because they look cosmetically bad through neglect. People then even want them gone. Additionally, contractors primarily build new and hate not having a clean slate, building codes demand like-new in many respects, and the payer is often a government, so when costing out renovations there is little incentive or ability to keep cost estimates down. Renovation cost estimates thus bowl people over.

    I grew up in a house full of antique furniture, own a couple old cabins, love old buildings, history, etc. However, in today's world that stuff just isn't valued anymore by most people. Everything has to be new or it's essentially worthless. With one of my family's old cabins the paint was peeling the roof looking bad, many of the windows were broken and two different people essentially said to me: 'Are you going to bulldoze it'. Both times I was shocked at the remarks because the old cabin was just looking bad cosmetically. A new roof, new paint, 13 new window panes and some cleanup and it looks quite nice now and the potential is starting to be appreciated. However, I'm sure even now with its total lack of drywalll, plastic siding, etc. a lot of people would find it unacceptably "old".



    In economics there's "Principal–agent problem" and "the paradox of thrift" which together pretty much describe the problem cities face.

    The concepts shown below loosely apply, not the specific examples:

    Paradox of Thrift
    Excerpt:

    "In this form it represents a prisoner's dilemma as saving is beneficial to each individual but deleterious to the general population. This is a "paradox" because it runs contrary to intuition. Someone unaware of the paradox of thrift would fall into a fallacy of composition and assume that what seems to be good for an individual within the economy will be good for the entire population. "

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_thrift
    Principal–agent problem

    "The energy efficiency principal agent problem applies in many cases to rented buildings and apartments, but arises in other circumstances, most often involving relatively high up-front costs for energy-efficient technology. "

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princ...3agent_problem
    Last edited by KC; 07-03-2015 at 01:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmcowboy11 View Post
    So there is a group that has now been formed called friends of McDougall.

    https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofMcDougall?fref=ts

    http://friendsofmcdougall.nationbuilder.com/

    On one side it sounds like a great cause to save the building. On the other side it also sounds like a very big undertaking that will take a few miracles to have it succeed. Considering that UCAMA needs to raise 2 or 3 million and they are not certain how well that will go, McDougall needs potentially up to 25 million.

    Other thing, and now I'm playing devils advocate sorta, if this money is raised, will the current owners of the building seek historical designation for the building, or will it be kept as is in regards to it's designation and therefore its protection?
    The thing is, we benefit from their building of this church in the first place, and we also benefit from their not tearing it town or selling it off long ago as has been allowed to happen to so many other downtown structures - even treasures owned by the City itself such as the old public library. Rarity generates appreciation. Through our past failures we've created this situation.

    Moreover, most people could care less about what's inside or how it is used. They increasingly like and value the decorative effect of the few remaining classic old structures downtown. So now that it is becoming appreciated by itself (and not for the land's potential) the builders/owners are being penalized in a sense because their hands are being tied by citizens who only now value it highly because they did less in the past to preserve other heritage buildings.

    By analogy it's a bit like a deeply in debt, spend crazy relative that has lived high on the hog coming to a conservative modest living relative demanding that they dig into their savings to bail them out. So in this case, if the citizens aren't prepared to buy out the property at market value and then spend the money to restore the place, maybe the city just needs to let the church do whatever it wants. Hands off it completely. Let it be just one more of many losses we've taken in this City. It will be forgotten.

    For the owners trying to raise free money to save the structure, why wouldn't they if they too saw it as a historical resource but would also like the money from its sale and likely destruction. It may be in their own self interest, but that doesn't mean that is bad, they have the same problem with it as we do: we all highly value the almighty dollar.
    Last edited by KC; 07-03-2015 at 02:08 PM.

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    Edmonton is a young city compared to other cities throughout the world. Most of it's first buildings would have been built with wood and then as the city prospered they started to build civic buildings with brick. It's these brick buildings that are the ones that are being lost. They have to start to look at preserving, modernizing and making them function in this century to keep them from being demolished. They need to hire architects from countries who know how to preserve old buildings and keep them functional. Hire architects that do not want to build all shiny and new gcass towers. You go to Europe and there are thousands of old brick buildings that have been converted to meet todays requirements. Even very old house 2 to 300 years old are liveable. Sure they may have some really quirky shaped rooms and low ceilings but a lot of people appreciate the character and are proud to have saved it. The unfortunate part about McDougall Church is that they failed to address repairs as they occurred so now the building is at the point of being dangerous. If you cannot afford the upkeep of your property take out a loan to fix it or sell it to someone who can afford to preserve it. McDougall failed to do any of that so now it's a problem.
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    https://twitter.com/LauraOsmanCBC/st...55039473778688

    Laura Osman ‏@LauraOsmanCBC 2h2 hours ago
    The province is holding a news conference tomorrow about the ailing McDougall United Church. #yegcc #CBC #ableg #yegdt
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    This had better not be a case of "let's sacrifice that financially sustainable and more useful project over there for this single use money pit sprung upon us by fiscal mismanagement over here."

    Not saying I'm against this project, but it's pure folly if saving this neck is attempted to be justified in the name of prudent investment.
    Let's make Edmonton better.

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    "To Friends of McDougall Church:

    McDougall United Church Council and Trustees invite you to McDougall on Wednesday, April 1 for a 10:30 a.m. announcement to be made by Alberta Minister of Culture and Tourism Maureen Kubinec regarding the future of the McDougall church building and its importance as an historic part of downtown Edmonton.

    Also attending will be City Councillor Scott McKeen.

    April 01, 2015 at 10:15am – 11am
    McDougall United Church
    14 people are going
    Jodine Chase
    [email protected]
    780-938-5208"

    http://www.friendsofmcdougall.ca/ann...e_of_mcdougall
    www.decl.org

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    ErinIsfeldCTV ‏@ErinIsfeldCTV 1m
    The McDougall United Church Council will pursue historical designation to preserve 105 yr old building. Prov chipping in $750,000. #ableg
    https://twitter.com/ErinIsfeldCTV/st...07545198071808

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    Good solution. The church foregoes several ownership liberties and receives funds to help stabilize the structure. They get to stay, the church still stands, on to other things
    Parkdale

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    Is the $750,000 enough to at least stabilize the structure?

    Eve

  76. #76

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    ^ +$500,000 from the City:

    "Representatives of the Friends of the McDougall United Church, along with leaders of the city’s arts, heritage and business communities will collaborate with the city, province and McDougall officials on a fundraising strategy for the long-term preservation of the church. To help kick-start efforts, the Alberta government has pledged $750,000, with the City of Edmonton preparing a request for a further $500,000, subject to approval from Edmonton City Council, to address urgent repairs at the church."

    http://alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=37...A988FED322BDC8
    www.decl.org

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    OK, I read that later. Is $1,250,000 enough to keep the roof on, etc.?

    Eve

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    From what I've read, that's enough to cover critical repairs.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    That's great then. The reason I get concerned is that so often these properties are allowed to deteriorate past the point of any repair. Some of the stuff I saw in photos regarding the crumbling roof edges and brickwork made me wonder how much needed to be done to stabilize the project. It would be nice to get everything up to current code but that really is hugely expensive.

    Eve

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    Really a million beans will stabilize the structure and maybe get you a new boiler.

    In the longer term they're still going to have to come to grips with the fact that it is a deteriorating structure, and at some point is going to require some larger captial investment
    Parkdale

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    I walked around it recently, there's really only a few spots on the exterior that are in poor shape.

    A new boiler and heating system would be a great way to invest some of this money, they could probably save 30% on their annual energy bill in addition to reducing maintenance, and could invest those savings to keep some of the interior maintenance and upgrades. With a big, leaky and poorly insulated building like that one and ineccicient systems they could easily be spending tens of thousands on utilities even with current low prices
    mechanical upgrades wouldn't be cheap, though, since the old system is steam and all the radiators/ terminals and piping would also need to be replaced. I haven't been inside recently but I can't imagine it would be easy to do without disturbing some existing plaster walls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 240GLT View Post
    Really a million beans will stabilize the structure and maybe get you a new boiler.

    In the longer term they're still going to have to come to grips with the fact that it is a deteriorating structure, and at some point is going to require some larger captial investment
    ETA: I don't know how that smiley face got on the header of this post, that was not intentional as I know I'll be labeled an anti-downtown, galleria and arena hating, Northlands loving hypocrite for that, given the shrillness of certain posters here
    Parkdale

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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I walked around it recently, there's really only a few spots on the exterior that are in poor shape.

    A new boiler and heating system would be a great way to invest some of this money, they could probably save 30% on their annual energy bill in addition to reducing maintenance, and could invest those savings to keep some of the interior maintenance and upgrades. With a big, leaky and poorly insulated building like that one and ineccicient systems they could easily be spending tens of thousands on utilities even with current low prices
    mechanical upgrades wouldn't be cheap, though, since the old system is steam and all the radiators/ terminals and piping would also need to be replaced. I haven't been inside recently but I can't imagine it would be easy to do without disturbing some existing plaster walls.
    The scary part about brick facades is that you can't really tell what's going on behind them until you pull them down. But they should be able to pin it back where it looks like it is delaminating

    You could easily blow multiples of millions on new convectors, controls, piping, etc.. I don't think that this budget comes close to covering that.. in the short term at least a new boiler gets the building reliable heating, they can deal with any steam or condensate leaks as they come up.

    Ironically, if the boiler is natural gas, the consumption on a new boiler will go way gown but the costs, given the current rate, actually won't produce that great a payback. Still worth doing though, as there's few things worse than freezing a building and natural gas won't be dirt cheap froever
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    It's mostly one large space, though, beside the basement which has no heritage value, so there's less piping and fewer convectors than you would normally see in a building of that size. The issue with a steam system is that you usually can't re-use much if you convert to hot water, and you don't get most of the efficiency and reliability gains with just at new steam boiler.

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    ^ correction, you can't really reuse any steam piping or convectors to convert it to hydronic heating.

    The efficiency of the building is really relative to the enveloppe conditions, glazing, thermal bridging, etc.. not the terminal equipment. The efficiencies gained are the BTU's that aren't being sent up the boiler stack

    It is a big space, and I'll acknowledge that I have never actually set foot in it, my educated guesses are based on working on a lot of older buildings and heating systems
    Last edited by 240GLT; 01-04-2015 at 02:50 PM.
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    heh, depending on how old the boiler system is, it could well be only 40-50% efficient, combustion wise. Even a mid-efficient hydronic boiler these days will do 80-85%, depending on the operating temperature. But yeah, the funding provided today would probably barely be enough to replace the heating system, even if the money was solely dedicated to that purpose. Retrofits are expensive, and there's a very good possibility that once they start opening up walls they find a lot of other things that make the whole thing more expensive.

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    Happy to see it strictly characterised as for historic purposes. Had two much bigger worries.

    Based on the prices quoted in the Journal article, this is not barely the tip of the iceberg, they're still going to need significant fundraising, I think, just for the stabilisation of the exterior. Biggest issue seemed like it was actually the eavestroughs leaking water in behind the bricks and breaking them with freeze/thaw.

    Hopefully we get there, but I doubt we've heard the last of this today.
    Let's make Edmonton better.

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    I hope, if the church is restored, that the congregation will do a better job ob maintenance than they have in the past.
    Fly Edmonton first. Support EIA

  89. #89
    C2E Long Term Contributor
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    Feb 2006
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    Downtown Edmonton
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    FRIENDS OF MCDOUGALL "BLUE SKY TO FRAMEWORK" WORKSHOP



    Friends of McDougall is hosting a Workshop to imagine the next steps in the journey of the revitalization of the McDougall building. Our "Blue Sky to Framework" evening will be facilitated by Vivian Manasc, a downtown resident and Architect.

    Please join us Tuesday, April 28 at McDougall
    The workshop will start at 5:30 pm and go until 9 pm. A light supper will be served - come with your dreams and your questions - our focus will be on what we would love to achieve - and the steps within which we can realize our dreams. Please try to join for the entire session as this is really a workshop where your contribution will help to build the success of this project.
    April 28, 2015 at 5:30pm – 9pm
    McDougall United Church
    10086 MacDonald Dr
    Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2B7
    Canada
    Google map and directions
    12 people are going
    Jodine Chase
    [email protected]
    780-938-5208


    http://www.friendsofmcdougall.ca/bluesky
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  90. #90

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    Well that's nice. They are now having a workshop to try to brain storm how to fix the mess they are in. To bad this didn't happen thirty years ago. Being pro-active is always better than being reactive.
    "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." –Mark Twain

  91. #91
    C2E Hard Core Contributor
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    Uh-oh spaghetti-os !!

    Top_Dawg sees yet another huge money pit on the horizon.

    Thanks for jumping whole hog into this big toilet of steamers CofE.

  92. #92
    C2E Long Term Contributor
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    Feb 2006
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    Tonight there is a 'smart start' for the project, great to see.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  93. #93

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    ^Yeah, dividing over which meeting to go to tonight.
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

  94. #94

    Default

    Latest podcast from The Yards is on saving McDougall Church:

    https://soundcloud.com/theyardsyeg/c...-united-church
    www.decl.org

  95. #95

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    I'll whisper the solution... "Fort Edmonton Park"...

  96. #96
    C2E Long Term Contributor
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    Mar 2006
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    Downtown
    Posts
    30,299

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    ^ Wrong, as you always are
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  97. #97

    Default

    ^repair it then, it can be another useless church / religious silliness, that nobody attends today. In 20 years time the same problems will arise for this unused space. Whereas at Fort Edmonton it would be looked after by volunteers. Oh well... not my call.

  98. #98

    Default

    Historic buildings don't always need to be in a museum. That's the old Edmonton way.
    www.decl.org

  99. #99
    C2E Long Term Contributor
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    I get greatly offended when people (especially those who aren't from here) insist that our heritage and history be relegated to some theme park.

    There's plenty of great ideas that can be explored before doing anything that drastic.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  100. #100

    Default

    ^There were probably plenty of ideas to be explored years ago to raise money for the church. The congregation did not bother to do anything except maybe pray money would fall from the sky. Now the people who give a rats aze are cap in hand to the city to bail them out. I'm all for saving the building but hopefully none of the big decisions are left to the bozo's who run it into the ground in the first place.
    "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." –Mark Twain

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