Historical buildings coming down

Nisbet Church. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

After months of debate, city council has voted to stick with the original plan to remove the Nisbet Church and Block House buildings from Kinsmen Park.

City council delayed a proposal last fall that would have seen parts of the two buildings salvaged for a new exhibit at the Prince Albert Historical Museum. The rest would have been torn down and thrown away. At the time, the museum was researching and applying for grant proposals that would give them the $750,000 needed to keep the building standing.

That funding never materialized, and on Monday, council voted by a 7-1 margin to support the original plan. Both buildings will come down in June.

Ward 4 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick was the lone dissenter at Monday’s vote. He said it’s discouraging to see the building couldn’t be saved, but emphasized that he’s ready to move on.

“Council made a decision and I have to respect that decision,” he said on Thursday. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s done now. It’s going to happen.”

Ogrodnick said he’s concerned that there aren’t more specific details for a future museum exhibit. However, he’s willing to be patient.

“I’m not going to fight it because I’m a team player, and I want to be a team player on this council,” he said.

The city will provide $10,000 from the Fiscal Stabilization Fund to deconstruct the buildings. It will also house the salvaged parts indoors at the old city yards until the new museum exhibit is ready to go.

In 2010, a study determined that the structural integrity of Nisbet Church and the blockhouse was at risk. The author of the study warned that the buildings could collapse during a heavy snowfall, and would pose a safety hazard to the public given their location in Kinsmen Park.

The Prince Albert Historical Society has tried to get both buildings declared as National Historic Sites, but their proposal was turned down because they were moved from their original location.

Mayor Greg Dionne said he didn’t expect the museum or historical society would find the necessary money. After meeting with representatives from both organizations, the path forward became clear.

“(Council) wanted to make sure everyone was onside. Well, now everyone’s onside,” he said.