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Council hires NA Engineering to conduct structural analysis of Grand Trunk building



Tuesday, June 12, 2018 




In preparation for development to begin on Stratford’s proposed Grand Trunk Community Hub, city council voted Monday night to hire NA Engineering to conduct a structural analysis on the former Cooper Site’s locomotive repair shop.


While council’s discussion about the structural analysis conducted in closed session, councillors voted in open session at the beginning of Monday’s meeting to retain NA Engineering Associates Inc. to conduct the analysis for no more than $79,200, plus tax.


“In the last couple of years, council has really galvanized around building a Grand Trunk Community Hub, and one of the concepts is to actually use part of the former rail shops,” Stratford CAO Rob Horne said. “There hasn’t been an updated look at the structure in some time, and NA Engineering has done a considerable body of work on the building in the past. So it was logical for them to do an update and overview.”


If council decides to proceed with developing a community hub that incorporates the old rail shop, Horne said the information collected during this summer’s two-month structural analysis will help inform the city’s tender process, as well as provide useful information to companies that submit bids for the proposed project.

According to Horne, engineers will focus largely on the building’s superstructure during their analysis, evaluating its structural integrity and determining whether any additional reinforcement is needed. The engineers are also going to look at the roof to give council a better idea of whether a roof replacement is needed and, if so, how that could be completed.


While on the roof, engineers will evaluate the potential for installing some kind of solar or green power generator to help reduce the community hub’s environmental impact.

Though he can’t say for sure, Horne said the engineers’ report will likely come back to council in open session at some point at the end of the summer or early fall. If that is the case, the document will be available for public review.


With regards to the in-camera discussion, Horne said councillors wanted the opportunity to discuss the merits of conducting the analysis in the context of potential federal funding that may become available for the community hub project in the near future but has not yet been confirmed.

“The recommendation was passed in open session, so it was public in that respect, but basically because we are negotiating with senior government – we’ve been successful with the provincial government, but we’re still working with the federal government – council needed to make a decision relative to some of those discussions. It was just to have a discussion about some of the early negotiations that we’re having and, of course, it’s important council look at that in the context of expenditures like this.


“… We’re in discussions with a variety of different parties, and because it does have to do with a pending property transaction, there was (justification for an in-camera discussion) that way.”




The Grand Trunk Railway Buildings - Size and Scale



For a sense of the size and scale of the former Grand Trunk Railways buildings, still standing on the Cooper Site, the Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation has posted three simulations of what the buildings, repaired and restored, may look like. Click here to view the simulations.



The Cooper Site - Re-Imagined



With the future of the Cooper Site coming to Stratford City Council once again in a Motion adopted by the Finance and Labour Relations Sub-committee, Branch member, Thor Dingman, puts out for community discussion a possible site re-development proposal that would retain portions of the building to serve the community (paid city parking...terminal for city buses...).  See Thor's full presentation here (PDF 7.8 MB).




The heritage value of the site would be honoured with enough of the fabric of the building retained, thus showing its industrial scale and its original function as the railway repair shops.




Photo courtesy of the Stratford-Perth Archives. Diagrams courtesy of Thor Dingman.