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What will the city decide to do with these? (3 photos)

Sunday, January 26, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

Sault Ste. Marie, as one of the oldest settlements in North America, has no shortage of history and historical landmarks.

City Council, based on reports provided by City staff and with input from various stakeholders, will decide what to do with three of those landmarks in the short and long term.

The Memorial Tower (pictured), which is a highly visible and well respected tribute to Sault Ste. Marie veterans, is in need of structural repair.

A recent inspection of the Tower estimates the structure will need approximately $400,000 in repairs over the next five years.

Ward Three City Councillor Pat Mick, at Council’s January 20 meeting, emphasized her respect for Sault veterans, but suggested the $400,000 needed for Tower repairs could be spent on other City needs.    

A report prepared for Council by Commissioner of Community Services Nick Apostle, and accepted by Council at its January 20 meeting, outlines the need for short-term repairs to be performed on the Memorial Tower, as recommended by Tulloch Engineering.

Necessary short-term repairs, Tulloch outlined in the report, include fixing or replacing the Tower’s copper roof cladding and repair to some of its existing concrete elements.

There is a danger that parts of copper or concrete could become lose and plummet to the ground, a clear danger to pedestrians and vehicles below.

Commissioner Apostle's report states the estimated cost for the short-term repair work is $22,000, however $30,000 is the figure included in the 2014 Capital Budget request.

City of Sault Ste. Marie Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Joe Fratesi, speaking to, said: “About $20,000 of repairs are recommended to be done almost immediately, and I would expect Council will approve that as part of budget deliberations.”

Fratesi said: “I’ve instructed staff to look around for programs from NOHFC, Trillium and FedNor to see if the bigger, long-term needs for the Tower might be addressed with financial assistance from those agencies.”

“There’s a lot of history and heritage in that structure that might assist us in applying for money for those repairs…in the meantime we’ve got to do some of those repairs this year and start working on the longer-term issues.”

It is recommended that the amount of money needed for short-term repairs be referred to Council's 2014 budget deliberations, and that long-term solutions be referred to future City budgets.

As for the fate of the Norgoma, an historic ferry which has financially struggled for years as a museum ship on the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront, three options were presented to Council in a report from Commissioner Apostle at Council’s January 20 meeting.  

The third option, recommended by City staff, would involve the basin surrounding the Norgoma's stern to be dredged and the vessel to be removed for demolition at a ship breaking yard.

Total responsibility for the ship's demolition would then be borne by others, the report states.

That option is estimated to cost $200,000 to $300,000.

That option is considered by City staff to be the best, as it would mean the least involvement by the City, reduced environmental risk, and a chance to dredge the entire Roberta Bondar Marina to desired depths while the docks are removed temporarily.

Five-year funding for the Norgoma ended in 2012, however Council approved $15,000 in funding for another year in 2013 at the request of the St. Marys River Marine Heritage Centre (SMRMHC), the group which operates the Norgoma.

The SMRMHC will appear again before Council at its February 17 meeting.

Options to be discussed by Council in February would be for the City to provide more funding to the Norgoma or proceed with dismantling of the ship.  

Fratesi said: “I’m not sure when the issue will be ultimately decided.”

“Discussion about the Norgoma has been ongoing well in excess of 20 years, and there will be a time soon, if not this year, that Council really needs to make a decision if it wants to get involved in capital requirements for the ship or bite the bullet and use the marina for other purposes.”

Ward Two City Councillor Susan Myers, at Council’s January 20 meeting, said the $300,000 option recommended by City staff would be a loss.

“Please don’t look at this as a saving, as opposed to spending $15,000 a year to keep the Norgoma open,” Myers said.

As for a third local landmark, the Bellevue Park locomotive known as “Porter,” Fratesi told us: “Council accepted (at its January 20 meeting) that staff indicated the City’s Legal Department and the provincial Ministry responsible for the Ontario Heritage Act determined the train ought not to have been designated under the Heritage Act…the decision (by the City) was erroneous.”

It is considered erroneous because, despite its considerable size and weight, the locomotive is not considered as a fixed, but rather moveable, object under the Act.

The locomotive was given to the City in the late 1960s by the Algoma Steel Corporation and placed in Bellevue Park, where it served as a play apparatus until 2006.

Because of liability concerns, the locomotive was discontinued as a play apparatus in 2006 by the City and fenced off.

City Council approved a request from the Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Heritage Committee (SSMMHC) to designate the locomotive under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2011.

Fratesi expects the SSMMHC will accept the City’s recommendation for the locomotive’s status under the Heritage Act to be discontinued.

While children will not be allowed to access the locomotive as a play area, Fratesi said the locomotive will continue to belong to the City (not to be scrapped), whether it continues to be fenced off, covered with a canopy, repainted with its proper, traditional colours or perhaps even removed to another site.

“It will still be a good-looking train,” Fratesi said.


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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
jray 1/25/2014 4:16:34 PM Report

fix the tower scrap the engine or ask the steelworkers to fix it.
Tag33&1/3rd 1/25/2014 4:17:24 PM Report

Whats the cost to dismantle and remove the tower? Spend the $$ and restore it!
Same with the other 2. They all are Sault Ste.Marie -- keep them!
Retreaded 1/25/2014 4:20:01 PM Report

Tear it down...the new arena can house all the does not add to the look of the new arena anyhow. Times change...things that we thought we could not do without pass away with little fan fare. Save some money here and fix a few potholes.
Dead End Kid 1/25/2014 4:30:20 PM Report

Pat Mick respects the fallen dead and then follows that by inserting the word "but".

Find the damn money and fix it properly.
The city had no trouble coming with four million dollars for that white elephant behind the old stone house.
Dead End Kid 1/25/2014 4:31:23 PM Report

Pat Mick respects the fallen dead and then follows that by inserting the word "but".

Find the damn money and fix it properly.
The city had no trouble coming with four million dollars for that white elephant behind the old stone house.
Dead End Kid 1/25/2014 4:34:56 PM Report

Retreaded you say times have changed. Do you know what it says in side of the memorial?
Tag33&1/3rd 1/25/2014 4:43:39 PM Report

Actually sink the boat, keep the train engine and the tower( give it a new face)
bill-m 1/25/2014 4:45:11 PM Report

Lest We Forget
Thats why it was put there . Those who think it should be torn down should spend som time on a battle field. Five Dollars A saultite thats all it would take .A LOUSY FIVE BUCKS. Start A Collection or put it on my taxes . And I will Give $50.00 Mr Mick Sham on you and any others who would think to take it down. Add More salt to a vets wounds
babs08 1/25/2014 4:52:39 PM Report

Fix the tower it should stay as a memorial to the men who died fighting for us and our freedom. Leave Porter the train where he is. Money is wasted on other projects that don't mean as much to the residents of Sault Ste. Marie. Spending $15,000. a year to keep the ship open 20 more years at least!!! Do your math, you want to spend $300,000. once to get rid of it. Does this make sense to you???? Barb
Tom_Bom 1/25/2014 5:12:35 PM Report

I used to play on that train as a kid, and then they suddenly decide its hazardous. Boggles the mind.

As far as the Tower goes, I have a lot of respect for the veterans that fought to ensure our freedoms and layed down their lives for our country, so I can't really comment on it. It's just too close to heart. Part of me knows its a really huge expense, but the other part of me knows that respect for the dead - especially those who are gone because they fought for us, is paramount and of the utmost importance.

Can I just blame Harper needlessly and call it even?
Tag33&1/3rd 1/25/2014 5:13:06 PM Report

Oh ya always keep that-- with the Red light on top for Remembrance Day and dif. colours for other events! Its always been part of the Sault -- keep it and yes as the above guy said "start a fund" --- BUT use available $ too with ours and end this subject by upgrading the thing to last once and for all!
R0FL0L 1/25/2014 5:15:00 PM Report

For "Porter" if the insurance is too high and children can not use it as it is right now anyway give "Porter" a new home with the Bushplane Museum BUT build a wooden replica for the children to enjoy and start to use their imagination again. And if you are all scare about beautiful, natural playground equipment read and listen to this
and look at some research.
As for the Norgoma I liked some ideas from the last article ( The Soo College Restaurant idea from IB-fine and the diving idea from ShawnM.
Sault Ste Marie needs to think "out-of-the-box"
North Bay has a Boat as a Restaurant and Bar. What is the problem here? Is it too close to the Delta or Docks Restaurant? They don't want the competition?
The Tower? during the construction of the EssarCenter I thought they should take the tower down or replace it with a new building. A little higher maybe so it could become a memorial side and a tourist attraction with a great view. But the old survived the construction time and now? they want to demolish it? Clean it, paint it for now. Collect Donations specific for the restoration of the tower for the next 2-5 years (and city staff NO don't use it for anything else!!) and get to work.
itsme29 1/25/2014 5:16:40 PM Report

lets be honest for 300 grand that tower can be tottaly rebuilt new, it can be fixed/repaired for much less then that and last another 100 plus years, if the copper roof needs fixed replace it with a modern cheaper material, copper is outdated and outpriced...the norgoma will cost lots to scrap but they don't mention what will be given for the scrap steal, more then likely pay for the job... if ur not gonna let the kids play on the train then just get rid of it, I played on it 30 plus years ago wwithout issues. it wasn't unsafe nor is it now give it a coat of paint or sent it do the dump quit cryin about it
snorules 1/25/2014 5:38:14 PM Report

Sell the eye-sore of a boat and use the money to pay for the tower repairs.
mikethedeerman 1/25/2014 5:51:36 PM Report

get them tore dowm we live in the soo it cost to much to keep lmao this city
LAWL 1/25/2014 6:20:12 PM Report

Why not take $100k and get rid of the tower. Spend another 50k on a granite memorial that is designed by the Legion or the Rotary. Granite will last a long time and the upkeep is minimal. People forget that we spent over a million dollars to keep it when the Essar centre was built. It is 400k for the next five years. Five years after that it will be another million. It just does not make sense. I believe that the vets need a memorial, we cannot forget. We just need to be realistic about the future.
Floyd 1/25/2014 6:27:26 PM Report

Sell the boat, SAVE THE TOWER! for the comment about the "white elephant" behind the Old Stone House.....first of all, and even worse, IT'S IN FRONT OF THE OLD STONE HOUSE!....hmmmm. I really like how they situated it perfectly so that the Old Stone House is almost COMPLETELY OUT OF VIEW! Anyone coming off the bridge and down Bay Street will completely miss it and be on their way up Pim to hwy 17 without even noticing it. Congratulations AGAIN.
guard1 1/25/2014 6:42:17 PM Report

They need to bite the bullet on the Norgoma now and scrap it. Its always was and always will be a money pit that the taxpayer cannot afford any longer. Like everything else the boat will need mtce in the future and their will be a huge cost to that. That thought process is called vision which this council does not have.
chico1 1/25/2014 6:45:01 PM Report

The best suggestion I read on this article was to bring the engine to the Bush Plane Musium. What a great idea.
I'm In 1/25/2014 7:02:39 PM Report

Americans only come here to fish and hunt (some illegally), they sure don't come here for the Old Stone House, the goose shit in Bellevue Park, Porter the tank engine (not) and the SS Norgoma, if they come for the Agawa Train Tour its only for the day and they head back over to Michigan. As for the Memorial Tower tear it down it is 64 years old, build a new one at least our Vets and war fallen deserve a new one. Use the municipal tax dollars to repair infrastructure in SSM.
jojoe71 1/25/2014 7:07:40 PM Report

if your watching Harper's travels; he's spending our money like a drunken sailor. Would be nice if some of that spending spree went to Canadian needs.
macgyvr 1/25/2014 10:25:26 PM Report

Fix the tower. Scrap the train. Scrap the boat. Wait until the potholes get bigger and the rebuild the street. The city has the EQUIPMENT in order to do abetter job but is probaly in the garage and stays toasty warm. And they throw cold patch in the holes. "Instead of doing it right the first time" IT'S LIKE PUTTING LIPSTICK ON A PIG.
macgyvr 1/25/2014 10:30:45 PM Report

macgyvr 1/25/2014 10:36:30 PM Report

Tag33&1/3rd 1/26/2014 12:13:04 AM Report

loose lips - sinks ships!

AC/DC says to sink the bloody ship!
jackie17 1/26/2014 3:57:12 AM Report

I am very sad about the Train, I used to play on it as a child. And frankly, I am not seeing the liability. I don't care what anyone has to say, kids will fall, get hurt, break bones, etc. It is a sad fact of life, and while sometimes these things are not avoidable, most are, and if parents were doing their proper job, as parents and supervising their children then the train is not an issue. What is wrong with people these days. "oh no, I broke a nail because I hit my finger on your door handle", I am holding you liable, and suing you for loss of personal self image. WTF? This is basically what is happening.
Hounds Fan 1/26/2014 4:25:00 AM Report

Keep Porter and the Tower and scrap the boat
chico1 1/26/2014 7:30:09 AM Report

Nimrod, you are exactly that. You are very ignorant.
twofast4u20 1/26/2014 8:40:10 AM Report

Hey Nimrod

If you are going to throw stones at people learn how to spell, nimrod
dude4975 1/26/2014 8:53:50 AM Report

Well here we go again, srap the boat . let some wrecking yard take it and dispose of it themselves ,problem one solved and didn't cost the tax payers a cent , second the tower tear it down and put the stuff in a corner in the Essar Building and for those who want it there to remember the fallen , they are in your mind for as long as you live , the young don"t give a Dam, so call some construction company with a payloader and a few dump trucks and 50,000 bucks problem # 2 solved , spend what you would have spent on these 2 problems on removing snow from our clustered streets and retrain city snow plow drivers on how to keep our streets wider for the rest of the year and years to come ...
twofast4u20 1/26/2014 9:25:35 AM Report

Dude, for the most part I agree with you; except for your reasoning for demolishing the memorial tower. The young don't give a damn so just tear it down isn't the answer, maybe as a community we should be encouraging OUR youth to understand the importance of remembering fallen soldiers...with out them we wouldn't be able to just forget about improving our community! I myself have never been to war but I know many who have, and have lost friends that were. Tearing down the memorial tower will only go to show that our community is taking another step backwards. If you don't think that those people who gave there lives for us are worth $400,000 then you are no better than the young people that don't have a damn!
HONEST1 1/26/2014 9:50:45 AM Report

Fix the tower for sure. Scrap the train. Kids today don't care about trains All they want are video games and cell phones!! That eyesore boat on the water should be towed out to sea and sunk!! Would make a good artificial reef!!
HONEST1 1/26/2014 9:55:39 AM Report

Save the $400,000. The tower is fine. Just a good splash of paint is all it needs. Theses rebuild costs are BS. Only in place for some contractor to suck major cash out of the city. Paint it red and white with some canadian flags on it and done!! Maybe we can get the community involved and have voluteers paint the tower.
Just Curious 1/26/2014 1:53:41 PM Report

#1;Take the tower down and replace it with a nice marble Monument with the names of the fallen on it, location to be decided...
#2; Pull Porter out of the park if the kids can't play on it and park it in front of the Bushplane museum with a nice plaque denoting it's historical value..
#3; Go ahead with removing the necessary walks and docking facilities and remove the Norgoma. Dredge the marina and either scrap the Norgoma entirely or place it down by the Bushplane and DO something with it. Might as well keep the attractions all in the same area...IMHO..
9Les123 1/26/2014 7:06:16 PM Report

Fix it all, The Train is loved by the kids. Turn the ship into a museum tour with a gift shop, may be a restaurant in it. Let some kids paint the tower to reflect our city, I read an article about our casino giving us lots of money, May be the hospital can share some of their excessive funds.

Tag33&1/3rd 1/26/2014 7:18:02 PM Report

What did Nimrod say? Was it about my comments?
guestwho 1/26/2014 9:10:25 PM Report

trains fenced off,do the same with the tower and boat,cheap and keeps lawyers from making all the money again
Decker 1/27/2014 8:03:43 AM Report

The tower was JUST poured new when Essar was built for f*k$ake. Sounds like typical SSM construction. Sub-par.
tba 1/27/2014 9:26:59 AM Report

Using the "tear it down,destroy ,scrap" ,when something is old and needs maintenance........then why not BURN all the old books at the museum and library, get rid of any old paintings hanging in any Art Galllery here,remove all the old statues...etc.
Remember the OLD STONE HOUSE was falling apart decades ago....and was an eye sore.It was destined to be torn down by a local contractor who wished to build a modern office structure,or an apartment building .
Good thing Gladys McNeice cajoled city fathers to preserve,restore, and revere the property's
Historical significance!
The Norgoma plied the TURKEY trail....bringing
Commerce to the hub of the Great Lakes.It represents human ingenuity and the progress made by those who developed the country in which we live and cherish.Artifacts of the past should be preserved. ......NOT abused!
We are shallow culturally....if the physical evidence of our "PROGRESS".... Is destroyed when the almighty $$$ becomes the deciding factor,...favouring repairs to potholes rather than
golfnuttt 1/27/2014 10:10:41 AM Report

Send the locomotive to the Bushplane Museum, might help to increase attendance?

Scrap the copper roof on the tower, using more economical material is in no way defiling the memory of the soldiers.
And accept the fact that the tower is not going to last forever and start discussing what will be built to replace it.....but don't wait until it falls into the middle of Queen St to start thinking about it.

Sink the Norgoma somewhere it can be used for a diving wreck.
golfnuttt 1/27/2014 10:12:56 AM Report

@ Decker

You are incorrect the tower only was "patched".
Boomer4771 1/28/2014 2:15:18 PM Report

TEAR IT DOWN... Enough money is wasted on history..EX. old stone house.. Use the money towards having a future for Sault Ste. Marie. Cause the way it is going there won't be much in the Soo in the near future. This is a dying town with little hope.... Reminds me of Elliot Lake. Drugs and crime...
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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