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  #21  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2014, 2:23 AM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Money finally runs out on ‘semi-interesting’ Hermitage ruins
(Ancaster News, Richard Leitner, Apr 10 2014)

Already leaning so precariously they’re fenced off from the public, Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins appear destined to come tumbling down one way or another.

Hamilton Conservation Authority directors last week gave staff the go-ahead to seek a city heritage permit to lower the remnants of the stone mansion to a safe height, but only after making it clear they want to spend as little money as possible.

Vice-chair Jim Howlett said he doesn’t want to see the Sulphur Springs Road ruins “sponge from this generation anymore” because they are of little real historical significance despite their colourful past.

Built in 1855 as a summer home and hobby farm by George Leith, a wealthy Scottish immigrant, the Hermitage was later owned by his eccentric daughter, Alma, who let barnyard animals wander inside the mansion.

After it was destroyed by fire in 1934, she lived in a one-room cabin built inside the ruins’ walls until her death in 1942. The authority acquired the site 30 years later and successfully applied to have it designated as a heritage property in 1990.

“It’s sort of got a history of soaking up other people’s money,” Howlett said, calling the original cost of construction “a small fortune” in its day. “The world got nothing out of it other than a fire and a semi-interesting tourist stop.”

Tony Horvat, director of land management, said a plan to be submitted to the city’s heritage permit review committee will preserve the ruins’ distinctive arched entranceway but reduce other sections to a height of 1.2 metres or less.

The plan also calls for the removal of 350 cubic metres of earth to lower the property’s grade by half a metre and “air out” the underground brick foundation, damaged from freezing and thawing because it’s often saturated with groundwater.

Estimated at $144,000 to $194,000, the project is scheduled to begin in early August if the necessary city and Niagara Escarpment Commission approvals are in hand.



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  #22  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2014, 6:34 AM
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I'm wondering if the people of Ancaster don't appreciate it too much, or if it's just a fringe opinion. I've been there before and I enjoyed it.
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  #23  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2014, 9:15 AM
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I grew up playing and riding bikes in the HCA and still stop at the ruins on each ride (rest point), but the ruins have no real value other than the fact that a mansion once stood there and it burned down, and the cause of a possible haunted ruins. It is an eyesore and my kids don't really understand what the big deal is...given the fencing, long grass etc. I would far more enjoy being able to stop on a bike ride and sit along a stone wall for a few minutes. Tear it down to the safe level, and give people who really want a 'piece' the option to buy some of the stone from the site (presumably going towards the cost of the fix).
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  #24  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2014, 11:36 PM
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New commercial corridor
(Ancaster News, Kevin Werner, Apr 23 2014)

The west end of Wilson Street is quickly becoming a commercial corridor.

Members of the planning committee approved at their April 14 meeting a 23,300-square-metre commercial development that will include a Lowe’s store on eight hectares of land at 1125, 1143 and 1185 Wilson St. W.

“This will be an exciting project on the west end of Ancaster,” said Sergio Manchia, of the IBI group, representing Trinity Development Group Inc., which owns the property.

A commercial needs and impact assessment, prepared by urbanMetrics Inc., recommended more commercial and retail space could be accommodated within the area. The project was the subject of a controversial Ontario Municipal Board decision in 2012 that scaled back the size of the development and limited the permitted uses. As an arterial commercial development, the Trinity project couldn’t include department stores, a large food store, residential buildings or retailers selling primarily apparel, housewares, electronics, sporting goods or general merchandise.

Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who has supported the project, said it completes the west end of Ancaster. He said the plan had to be modified to accommodate the OMB decision.

An amendment to the recommendation, presented by Ferguson, also restricts permitted in the plaza. Ferguson said construction could begin this fall. It’s expected the plaza will generate about $1.5 million in new non-residential tax revenue for the city....

As part of the new commercial centre, a new roundabout is being proposed at McClure Road and Wilson St. W. A traffic study will also be done to further examine the McClure Road extension and Portia Road, which bisects the property.

Ferguson said a new gateway feature will be constructed at the roundabout to welcome people entering Ancaster.


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  #25  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2014, 11:48 PM
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Actlabs prepares for growth in new $20m headquarters
(Hamilton Spectator, Lisa Marr, Apr 23 2014)

For a business based on micro-particles, Actlabs is pretty big.

On Wednesday, the company opened its global headquarters, providing dizzying tours of its sweeping 200,000-square-foot, $20-million highly automated facility.

Its Bittern Street building houses the labs that were previously in a set of five buildings nearby in the Ancaster Industrial Park the company had outgrown.

Eric Hoffman, president, said two of those buildings have been sold and the rest would be sold in the coming months.

Actlabs now has more than 1,000 employees worldwide with about 200 in Ancaster.

Hoffman said the new headquarters was built extra big to accommodate another 100 to 200 local employees within the next five years. That growth would make it one of the largest private employers in Hamilton.

Not bad for a business that started in a Brantford incubator in 1987 as a way for Hoffman to try to do something with the ideas he explored in his PhD dissertation on neutron activation — hence the term Activation Labs, or Actlabs as it's commonly known.

Hoffman moved to the Hamilton area so he could be near McMaster's nuclear reactor — the only university in the country with a research reactor.

But Actlabs does much more now — everything from forensic work examining ash particles from fires to determine what accelerant triggered a blaze to being able to determine the amount of gold in a water mixture in parts per quadrillion.

The company now analyzes a wide variety of geological materials, often using its own technologies or processes. About 30 per cent of its work is still for precious metals mining companies.

Actlabs also offers analysis for academic research, exploration, environmental baseline studies for many industries: minerals, petroleum, forensics, life sciences (including pharmaceuticals), environmental and occupational health, agricultural and materials testing.



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  #26  
Old Posted May 3, 2014, 3:30 AM
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Hermitage ruins remake ‘too pristine,’ authority told
(Ancaster News, Ricchard Leitner, May 1 2014)

They’re ruins and should look like it.

That’s the advice the Hamilton Conservation Authority is being given as it seeks a heritage permit to lower the crumbling walls of Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins.

Wilfred Arndt, a member of the city’s heritage permit review subcommittee, told authority officials last week their proposal to cap the lowered walls will make the remnants of the 19th century fire-destroyed stone mansion too symmetrical.

The plan would preserve the Sulphur Springs Road ruins’ distinctive arched entranceway but cut other sections to a height of 1.2 metres or less — down from about 11 metres.

“I’m in agreement that we need to do something to bring it to a safe level,” Arndt said. “The only thing that I find so offensive is it looks too pristine. It doesn’t look like a wall that was anything else other than nicely capped.”

Committee chair Michael Adkins also found the end result — or at least an artist’s rendering of it — resembles “the Hermitage repaired,” comparing it to Mayan ruins he’s visited.

“If you go to Belize, you can go on the ruins and you take your life in your hands if you climb on, or if you go to Guatemala and go toTikal. I’ve been to both. They’re exciting because they’re ruins,” he said.

“They’re trying to stabilize them, but they’re not Disneyfied and repaired too much.”


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  #27  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 1:37 PM
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No tender required on rebuild of Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins
(Ancaster News, Richard Leitner, Jan 22 2015)

The stone mason whose company has just been awarded a $460,000 contract to restore Ancaster’s crumbling Hermitage ruins says he’s optimistic the work can be completed by the end of this year.

Matt Kuhlmann said while he must first finish the restoration of the historic Barracks building on Wilson Street East, he is aiming to begin the project early this summer.

The Sulphur Springs Road ruins’ three main walls will first be dismantled stone by stone, with each marked to ensure it is put back in its original place, to allow for construction of a new foundation, he said.

It will then take about four months to rebuild the remnants of the 160-year-old, fire-destroyed mansion, a process that will include internal steel bracing to ensure the walls are secure for at least another century, he said.

Kuhlmann said Quinn Dressel Associates, a Toronto structural engineering firm that specializes in heritage projects, has reviewed the plan and found it sound.

The lone change it recommended was to use galvanized, rather than regular, steel for the bracing, he said.

“(It’s) an additional expense, but we’re happy to do that,” Kuhlmann said.

Hamilton Conservation Authority directors voted unanimously without discussion on Jan. 15 to award the restoration contract to Kuhlmann’s Rock Solid Natural Stone Masons Ltd., agreeing with a staff report recommending the project not be tendered.

The staff report said sole-sourcing contracts isn’t normally ideal, but in this case reflects that Rock Solid’s bid is well below initial estimates of $600,000 to $1 million for the work.

The bid has also generated $100,000 in private donations “that would not be available to other bidders in a formal process,” it stated.

Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who sits on the authority board and has championed the plan, said he wasn’t surprised by the lack of debate on awarding the contract.

“How could you discuss something that’s perfect?” he said. “It’s been saved and it’s good now for 100 years once (Kuhlmann’s) done with it.”

The city and authority are each contributing $200,000 to the rebuild, with private donations and fundraising by the authority’s charity, the Hamilton Conservation Foundation, expected to add another $200,000.



The solution will apparently mean that the Hermitage ruins stand safely without external bracing, and need not be fenced off from the public.

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Last edited by thistleclub; Jan 31, 2015 at 4:19 PM.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 3:15 PM
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Thanks for posting this interesting article. But the link provided points to the Dundas Conservation Area story.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM
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Weird. Fixed.
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  #30  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2015, 2:16 AM
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I have mixed feelings about the Hermitage plan.

I'm glad that the original Conservation Authority plan to reduce the height of the walls until they were about 4 feet high was rejected.

But the new plan to dismantle the ruin stone by stone, build a foundation, and then put it all back together again with new mortar and bracing seems odd to me.

A building 'in ruin' is normally expected to decay over time and fall down at some point. The claim that the Hermitage is being saved doesn't make sense when the process involves the complete demolition of the walls.

This reminds me of LIUNA's campaign to convince people that the best way to save the Lister Block was to demolish it and build an exact replica.
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  #31  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2015, 1:02 PM
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I think the major difference here is that Lister was a building to be occupied and used as a modern facility. I am sure a replica of the original would have been significantly cheaper, but we would have lost the heritage aspect.

The Hermitage ruins are indeed 'ruins' and have been like that for over 80 years. We never had the benefit to know what the hermitage was like as an estate and hence the ruins are what makes it more mysterious and an attraction in the first place. I grew up without any fencing or bracing around the ruins, but my kids cannot, nor do they get an appreciation of being able to climb in and out of the ruins. This plan changes that, and will ensure we can pass down great traditions, while remaining a destination for locals.
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  #32  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2015, 11:51 AM
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Mortar aside, Ancaster's Hermitage rebuild on track
(Ancaster News, Richard Leitner, Dec 2 2015)

The contractor restoring the main three walls of Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins says all the stone blocks should be back in their original place and capped by Christmas.

Matt Kuhlmann of Rock Solid Natural Stone Masons Ltd. said work will then turn to sealing the joints with mortar in January, weather permitting.

His Ancaster firm began dismantling the 160-year-old remnants of the fire destroyed mansion in July, a painstaking process that mapped and numbered each stone, after being awarded the $460,000 untendered contract for the job.

Only the front and side walls are being rebuilt — on top of a new foundation with internal steel bracing to keep the stones in place — but Rock Solid is also restoring a missing section over the distinctive arched entrance.

Kuhlmann said the section has been the biggest challenge to date because he’s had to rely on a blowup of an old photograph taken before it collapsed.

“We’re trying to match all of the original stone arrangements,” he said. “We’re close. We’re not 100 per cent on getting every rock the exact size, but it’s going to be good.”

The weather has been cooperative so far, but Kuhlmann said he expected to tarp and heat the east wall this week and then do the same for sections of wall as they’re pointed with mortar.

“If we can finish all the pointing in January we will, and if not, we’ll do it in the springtime, but either way early springtime we’ll be cleaning up the site,” he said.



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  #33  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2016, 5:54 PM
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Hermitage stands rock solid again
(Ancaster News, Richard Leitner, Jan 21 2016)

Before Matt Kuhlmann and his crew began restoring the Hermitage ruins back in July, portions of the walls leaned so precariously they seemed ready to topple over at any moment.

Six months later, after being dismantled and rebuilt stone by stone, the remnants of the 160-year-old stone mansion look so sturdy and square it’s hard to imagine anything less than an earthquake knocking them down.

Internal steel braces secure the three main walls in place and the front now once again includes a section over the distinctive arched entrance that collapsed decades ago.

While Kuhlmann points out one spot that isn’t as exact as he’d like, it’s lost on a reporter’s untrained eye.

Overall, he said he and his co-workers from Rock Solid Natural Stone Masons are proud of the results and grateful for the chance to give Ancaster back a part of its heritage.

“I think it will be glorious for quite some time,” Kuhlmann said on Monday as they cleaned up the Sulphur Springs Road jobsite, pausing work on some minor finishing touches for the rest of the winter.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s close,” he said. “It’s going to be just beautiful for the community. I can’t wait to come to take my kids for a picnic.”

His Ancaster-based firm, which has also restored The Barracks on Wilson Street, was awarded the $460,000 untendered Hermitage contract last January after the authority scrapped initial plans to lower most of the main walls to about chest height.

Kuhlmann said rebuilding the missing front-wall section was the biggest challenge because he had to rely on photos from the 1970s.

“Getting everything to fit the way it was, was the most difficult part, definitely,” he said. “It just really completes it.”



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  #34  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2016, 12:37 AM
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Lowe's Ancaster Store is now open

GRAND OPENING EVENTS:
THURSDAY, JAN. 28, 2016 TO SUNDAY, JAN. 31, 2016
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  #35  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2016, 4:58 PM
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Could also be filed under the “Ancaster's 'unique' community under attack” thread .


Ancaster Shaver home falls to the wreckers' ball
(Ancaster News, Kevin Werner, Jan 28 2016)

One of Ancaster’s historic buildings has been demolished to accommodate a big box commercial plaza.

The two-storey Shaver house, an L-shaped red-brick building with a single storey rear addition representative of Gothic Revival architecture, built in 1862-63 and located at 1143 Wilson St. W., was torn to the ground by backhoes last week.

The building had been originally owned by Frederick Shaver.

There had been some discussions between the owners of Knollwood Golf Club and the developer, Zackor, about relocating the building to the Book Road property.

The city’s heritage committee had reluctantly agreed last summer to relocate the building to the golf course.

The committee’s preferred option would have been to reuse the building at the current site.

But heritage committee member Ron Sinclair said discussions between the parties recently broke down.

“It’s sad,” he said.

In a letter to the heritage committee last summer, Conrad Zurini stated the developer could not pursue the option of repurposing the building on Wilson Street.



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Local real estate developer and default source for stories on the hot, hot, hot, hot property market, Conrad Zurini has previously been identified as Zakcor's project manager.

He also may or may not be related to the Zurini connected to the property in earlier documents: the all-but-invisible Zakcor Inc. is located at the same address as RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc. Brokerage, which he co-owns.
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  #36  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2016, 9:38 PM
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Ancaster Society for Performing Arts launches naming program for Memorial Arts Centre
(Ancaster News, Kevin Werner, Feb 4 2016)

You can have your name up in lights.

Or at the very least, on the side of a wall, or above an entrance way.

The Ancaster Society for Performing Arts, which is coordinating the building of the estimated $12-million Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre, has been notifying its members and the general public about an opportunity to name parts of the centre.

About 10 people turned out Jan. 27 at the Old Town Hall to hear the arts organization’s pitch to raise money to renovate the former Memorial School at 357 Wilson St. Officials said for a certain donation a person or business can have the studio, lobby or even the entire 450-seat theatre named after them.

Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson said it “wasn’t a big turnout,” but it’s part of a process to promote the arts centre and get the community thinking about fundraising.

Ferguson has already talked to new Liberal MPs Bob Bratina and Filomena Tassi about possible federal funding for the facility. The idea, said Ferguson, is to divide the funding among all three levels of government, similar to the manner in which renovations to the Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre facility were funded. Ferguson has said asking for the municipal share of the funding from council would be a difficult task.

A community fundraising campaign has been underway since last year, overseen by local businessman Bob Wilkins.

Ferguson said he didn’t want to reveal how much has been raised so far since it is too early in the campaign.

Preliminary costs to transform the building are $6.93 million, while renovating the remaining school facility – after demolishing half the structure – is estimated to be about $5.2 million. Other expenses include $300,000 for asbestos abatement.


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  #37  
Old Posted Feb 21, 2016, 4:24 PM
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Anyone have details on the Target store redevelopment. See Riocan has remove front brickwork. Also heavy ground work going on on Old Golf Links Road (site of a previous hotel proposal). No signs posted on either site.
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  #38  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2016, 2:47 PM
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Meadowlands Conservation Area trail treads cautiously
(Ancaster News, Richard Leitner, Mar 24 2016)

The Hamilton Conservation Authority expects to begin work this year on the second phase of a formal trail through the Meadowlands Conservation Area – one that is a compromise with neighbours who didn’t want one.

Sandy Bell, manager of design and development, said he’s in the process of getting approvals to extend the initial stretch of trail through a Hydro One corridor to link up with Stonehenge Drive.

Work to date has nearly finished upgrading an informal trail from Harrogate Drive that runs through a marshy area to Tiffany Creek and placed a bridge over the waterway, he said.

Once the second stage is completed, the final phase will take the trail down the hydro property to the southern edge of the conservation area, roughly parallel to the corner of Raymond Road and Chambers Drive.

The $110,000 project is a scaled-back version of an initial plan in 2011 to create secondary trail loops by the wooded area at the southern end, one that met stiff opposition from neighbours who argued it would invade their privacy.

One of the original plan’s goals was to discourage people – including those from more than 500 new homes to the south that were only in the planning stage back then – from creating their own makeshift trails.

The main and loop trails were also designed to try to keep them away from the environmentally sensitive area between DiIorio Circle and Stone Church Road that includes a pristine swamp and woodlot with butternut trees, a species-at-risk in Ontario.



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  #39  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2018, 10:53 PM
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I was in a camp for the Redeemer University....and whilst there, I noticed some construction going on right by, this is for a new subdivision:
[IMG]DSC_8292 by Josh Kenn Photographics, on Flickr[/IMG]
Across the street:
[IMG]DSC_8282 by Josh Kenn Photographics, on Flickr[/IMG]
[IMG]DSC_8285 by Josh Kenn Photographics, on Flickr[/IMG]
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  #40  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2018, 12:13 AM
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just what we need... more sprawl.
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