November 1978 Almonte Gazette
Following recent publicity in regard to the impending demolition of the Almonte Railway Station, a group of local citizens whose interests lie in the area of the preservation of buildings of historical or heritage value have embarked on a campaign to have the 75-year-old building saved from the demolishers hammer.
A special meeting was held at the Continuing Learning/Office last Wednesday evening >ahd it was learned that the C.P.R. had taken back ownership of the building from Mr. Brian Meloche when Mr. Meloche was unable to come up with a definite plan to move the building from its present site – a requirement of the sale. As the situation stands now, the station is still scheduled for demolition by December 1st, 1978. However, the local group has been investigating other means of saving the building and a second meeting, scheduled for tomorrow evening (Thursday), 7.30 at the Continuing Learning Office at 88 Mill Street, may shed some light on the means to bring this about.
Among those expected to be present will be Dr. Harold Kalman who has worked in co-operation with the Ontario Heritage Foundation of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, doing feasibility studies on old railway stations – among them the Almonte station. Hope has been expressed that help can be sought from the Ontario Heritage Foundation for a restoration program. Another guest who has been invited to the meeting is Mr. Harry Gow who is deeply involved with Transport 2000. This group has been busy with attempts to save some of these old unused railway stations and restore them for use as flag stops for the Via rail system in short haul commuter type travel. Some success has been achieved along this line and the possibility will be investigated here.
Although Almonte’s situation in regard to commuter travel between here and Ottawa would seem to be suited to such a scheme, a definite need for this type of service would have to be established before any steps could be taken. Representatives are also expected to be on hand from the Ontario Heritage Foundation. Unfortunately, the meeting falls on the same night as the All Candidates’ Meeting at the Town Hall but those not planning to attend that meeting are urged to attend the one at the Continuing Learning Office.
Attempts to save the Almonte Railway Station from demolition came to an abrupt end last Thursday morning when a Stittsville firm contracted by the C.P.R. moved in with heavy equipment and reduced the 75- year-old building to a pile of rubble. Surprised members of a heritage minded group of individuals from the Almonte area, many of them members of the North Lanark Historical Society, cancelled a meeting that was planned for Thursday evening to discuss various methods that could be used to preserve the landmark which served the area well for so many years.
Representatives from Heritage Canada, Transport 2000 and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications had been invited to Thursday’s meeting. Meeting organizer, Sandra Way said that her group was unaware that plans to demolish the building had already been finalized with Stacey Construction of Stittsville when the date for the meeting was announced last week. Attempts to have the building saved from the demolisher’s hammer began in earnest following discussions at the Ottawa Valley Heritage Conference in Arnprior recently, in the wake of publicity surrounding attempts by Mr. Brian Meloche of R.R.2, Carp, to secure financial help to move the building to another site, a proposition that proved to be far too costly, apparently.
The C.P.R.’s position was that they simply wanted the building away from its former site before winter set in and when no concrete proposals were put forth to move the building, they cancelled the purchase offer by Mr. Meloche and went ahead with demolition plans. Stacey Construction planned to salvage as much of the cut limestone as possible and the Town secured a quantity large enough to serve as a facia or a small commemorative wall at the proposed new public library which is to be constructed near the former station site.
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