The Town of Hawkesbury wants at least $50,000 for the Christ-Roi school, an abandoned building owned by the municipality. The decision to go ahead with another request for proposals was made during a closed-door council meeting on November 2. The resolution says the agreement will include the demolition of the building within six months of a sale.

The $50,000 minimum is much more than Asco Construction offered for the waterfront property in 2015 (just $1) but less than was asked for in the town’s request for proposals in 2009 ($350,000). This time, the town will keep part of the property along the river.

The town wants to see the old building demolished, and soon. On Monday, December 12, council is expected to vote on a resolution that would require a $50,000 deposit from the purchaser of the property, which would be returned as long as the building was demolished within six months of the sale, according to council documents.

In 2015, developer Anthony Assaly said the state of the building, combined with unanswered questions about how much of the property is on a flood plain, meant his company wouldn’t be willing to pay more than $1. “I believe that town councillors have a very different view of the value of the property than what we have,” he told The Review at the time.

The school was built in 1939 and closed in 1980. Community organizations later took up residence in the municipally-owned building, including the Cercle Gascon II theatre troupe, the Optimist Club, Prescott-Russell Community Services and others, but these groups left after the town asked them to buy the building for $1 in 2006.

A recent petition to the town urged council to negotiate with Asco Construction instead of beginning the process again with another request for proposals. The town responded in a written statement that while it has spent a “considerable” amount of money studying and trying to sell the property in recent years, “these studies have allowed us to understand the development potential and limitations of the land,” and “we are optimistic that the next call for proposals will be successful and a new project will revitalize this sector of town.”

Environmental study planned for another property

Meanwhile, the town is also conducting an environmental study on another waterfront property known as “cote abattoir.” Council documents say the two-phase study will cost $10,000 and will help the town “to know the history of the site and know if it can be developed.”