Canada

Campaign to save city’s grandstand about to be launched

Article content

With the grandstand declared “unsafe” and the fall fair less than three weeks away, a much smaller, admission-free fair will be offered in Owen Sound this year.

Advertisement 2

Article content

“We get questions almost daily about it and it’s so unfortunate that I have to tell them that we’re not having it with a midway and we’re not having a demolition derby,” agricultural society president Hiliary Breadner said Tuesday.

“You know, we’re just trying our best. We’re just a group of volunteers.”

The Owen Sound Agricultural Society will launch a campaign next week to raise tens of thousands of dollars to refurbish the grandstand and the building under it. Both were deemed by the city on June 13 to be unsafe.

Breadner said it will cost $80,000 to $100,000 to address many concerns. A city notice posted at the site refers to “structural deficiencies throughout entire building and grandstand structure.”

The agricultural society has saved some money for repairs but it will take a fundraising campaign and ongoing help from sympathetic contractors to meet the goal of fixing it by year’s end, she said.

Advertisement 3

Article content

“We are trying to put together a campaign so that we can raise money . . . from businesses and individuals in the community who have a vested interest in helping us save the grandstand,” Breadner said.

“We want to see it revitalized and not go by the wayside. There’s a lot of people that have very fond memories of the very long time that the grandstand has been standing . . .”

Front of the Victoria Park grandstand, which the city has deemed unsafe, shown Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 in Owen Sound, Ont. (Scott Dunn/The Sun Times/Postmedia Network)
Front of the Victoria Park grandstand, which the city has deemed unsafe, shown Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022 in Owen Sound, Ont. (Scott Dunn/The Sun Times/Postmedia Network)

Separately, work has just started on masonry repairs to the barn next to the grandstand. Electrical upgrades will be made and a fresh coat of paint will be applied to prepare it for the fair’s 4-H competitions. This work relies largely on a grant from Farm Credit Canada, Breadner said.

Discussions with contractors and suppliers are ongoing for the grandstand project. Various city departments have been involved in the agricultural society’s attempt to save the grandstand, Breadner said.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Pam Coulter, the city’s community services director, said the city and the agricultural society have had a longstanding partnership. She is satisfied with the agricultural society’s response to the order.

“This is a volunteer organization. They’ve taken steps to make the site safe. In the interim they’re working on a long-term plan. And those things, to be done in a thoughtful way that means something, it just takes time.”

The grandstand was last used in October 2019 for a monster truck show. The grandstand belongs to the agricultural society, which leases land in Victoria Park from the city.

Wild vines are climbing its railings and walls and unauthorized people made a hole in fencing intended to block access to the stands. But the stairs leading up to the grandstands have been removed to prevent further access since the order was made.

Advertisement 5

Article content

The city’s “unsafe order” has required the agricultural society to get an engineering assessment of the “condition and viability of the structure.” It forbids occupation of the grandstand and the agricultural society must prevent entry as best it can.

The order notes a buckling wall and water penetration into the building, a shifting flat roof, large holes in the deck and seating boards, guards and stairs which don’t meet building codes, corroded steel columns, and undermined integrity of a concrete slab, among the concerns raised by the city.

Breadner said refurbishment work is “quite localized within the front bottom part of the grandstand with the footing and widening the walkway across the front of the grandstands, adding new and additional staircases,” some mould removal and new roofing.

Advertisement 6

Article content

This is the 170th anniversary of the Owen Sound Fall Fair, which will be shortened to two days from the usual three, Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10.

Without the grandstand, there will be no big truck pull or demolition derby.

There won’t be a midway either, because the company that used to provide the service merged with another company which is booked, Breadner said.

But there will still be a local truck pull and an antique tractor pull on the track. Old MacDonald’s Farm, which is an educational area, and the antique farm equipment display will be moved from beneath the grandstand to a tent. There will be a vendors’ area where the midway usually is, a hay bale maze, a medieval knight show, games for kids, pony rides, ice cream- and pie-eating contests and a kids’ mini tractor pull, a baby show and 4-H regional show. The fair’s annual beef barbecue returns and there’ll be a band and dance in the entertainment tent.

The homecraft and quilt show will return to the rec centre near the grandstand during the fair, featuring traditional flower arrangements, fruit and vegetable competitions, art submitted by schools and more.

There will be no charge to get in but donations will be welcomed, Breadner said. For more details, see the agricultural society’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/OwenSoundFair/.

The rear of the Victoria Park grandstand. A city notice deeming the structure unsafe is posted on the building shown Aug. 23, 2022 in Owen Sound, Ont. (Scott Dunn/The Sun Times/Postmedia Network)
The rear of the Victoria Park grandstand. A city notice deeming the structure unsafe is posted on the building shown Aug. 23, 2022 in Owen Sound, Ont. (Scott Dunn/The Sun Times/Postmedia Network)

    Advertisement 1

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Campaign to save city’s grandstand about to be launched Source link Campaign to save city’s grandstand about to be launched

Related Articles

Back to top button