Residents request town protect old waterworks pump house
PARRY SOUND – When it was constructed in 1892, the Old Waterworks Pump House was a technical marvel of its time, providing fire protection to Parry Sound residents.
Old waterworks pump house.
The Old Waterworks Pump House as it was in 1935.
Dave Thomas collection
Today, a handful of town residents want to protect that building, proposing it receive a heritage designation.
Last week, Ann Bossart, representing former members of the town’s Municipal Heritage Committee, submitted a formal request for the designation at council’s November 20 meeting.
“We as a group decided to look at the property and evaluate it, using the (heritage designation) criteria we did when we were on your advisory committee,” said Bossart. “We saw that it met the criteria that we would have needed to request designation. So as private citizens we are hereby requesting that you move forward and designate that building under the heritage act.”
In a report presented to council, Bossart provided historical background on the building as well as photos.
As the only remaining shoreline building from the 19th century, the pump house was designed and built for the town by civil engineer John Galt to provide fire protection to Parry Sound.
“A devastating fire that occurred in Parry Sound in March 1890, in which three young people perished, could have provided the final impetus for the town to build the waterworks,” wrote Bossart. “The provision for drinking water for the town was of secondary concern in those early days. Records indicate that by 1912 there was service to 650 households. Chlorine was added to the drinking water in 1916, following a third typhoid outbreak.”
A debenture for $28,300 paying 5 per cent interest annually was raised to pay for its construction.
“When completed, the waterworks consisted of the pump house and adjoining residential quarters, two fire halls, a brick masonry storage tank on Belvedere Hill – design patented by Galt – along with the water mains and fire hydrants necessary to protect the young town, incorporated only five years previously, and its 2,500 inhabitants,” wrote Bossart. “The pump house was in active service for over 100 years…The Old Waterworks Pump House is a local landmark – it was the first visible water’s edge building when approaching town from the Big Sound. This northwest approach is the main water access route to the town. It brings ocean-going and lake cruise ships, freighters, cottagers and local boat traffic.”
Bossart’s request for designation will be considered at the December 4 council meeting along with several reports and requests regarding the 86 Waubeek Street building and property, including the possible sale of the building, shore road allowance closure, a recommendation to apply for the Canadian Water Landmark Award, and whether to explore the possibility of a Heritage Conservation Easement Agreement.