With a deadline looming and the holiday season fading in the rear view mirror, work has begun in earnest on the long term plans for Grand Falls House.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any quick solution,” said Bryan Blackmore, vice president of a special committee of the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society administering the project.
The project aim is to establish a sustainability plan for the Grand Falls House, the Mill Manager’s House and the adjacent 25-acre property, Blackmore explained to the Advertiser Monday.
The 25 acres of land actually served as a dairy farm at one point.
The properties were part of the expropriation from Abitibi-Bowater on the closing of the paper mill more than five years ago.
“The primary purpose is to have the properties made available to the public,” he added. “They were always private, but they’re a part of our heritage.”
Group ANT Consulting Inc. out of Halifax, Nova Scotia is project lead on sustainability plan
They were named the successful bidder and officially began work in December. Representatives have visited the site and are currently conducting research, Blackmore continued.
The project report will present ideas on adaptive re-use of the buildings and grounds, but a business model will be required as “presently, the place is costing money and we have to find a way to generate money to operate it,” he added.
The subcommittee members meet with the consultants again Jan. 21 via teleconference. That discussion includes fine-tuning details for a community workshop in mid-February.
“The committee will be organizing that and trying to reach out to interested groups and individuals,” Blackmore said. “It’s basically a workshop for gathering ideas.”
Details on the exact time and location of the workshop will be made public once they are finalized.
The end of March is the targeted completion date for the project.
The recommendations from the consultants will then be used by the Heritage Society to develop any long-term plans.