Mold, shaky foundations and toxic chemicals have complicated efforts to reopen the Lochlin Community Centre.

Minden Hills councillors discussed remediation, renovations and even a full replacement of the building at a Sept. 29 council meeting.

Director of community services, Craig Belfry, presented a report on the community hall at the meeting.

He explained how planned roof fixes did not occur on schedule, due to COVID-19 and staffing changes.

“As a result of that inaction, when staff were not here, the roof continued to leak and that caused a mold outbreak in the washroom area of the facility.”

The facility has been closed since March 2020.

While the roof was fixed in 2021, staff discovered further mold in the kitchen and basement. They also noticed water seepage in the basement, as well as structural issues with the foundation.

Staff hired Pinchin Ltd. to assess the damage. They found the mold growth in the facility is impacting the air quality. As well, Belfry said they determined there was lead paint and asbestos in the facility.

“The presence of these hazardous materials makes the remediation process that much more difficult,” Belfry said.

The company quoted $12,625 plus HST to begin preliminary work on the remediation process. Full remediation is expected to cost much more and involve other companies.

Belfry said the township could look into further funding for the work in 2023.

Coun. Jean Neville, who represents the area, said the problems illustrate a, “lack of caring, this is going to be another example of what happened to Gelert community centre.”

Coun. Pam Sayne added, “this is a longstanding issue… but it shows we need better maintenance of all of our buildings and monitoring.”

She pointed to a prior report that detailed the conditions of Minden facilities.

“It sounds like in the period of not being used we didn’t go in and check things.”

Coun. Bob Carter said, “we should look at what is the real need here, for that building… the fact of the matter is that a replacement building may be a better solution for what we’ve got. We should at least have that as one of the alternatives when we’re looking forward.”

Neville said she’s frustrated with the situation.

“The volunteers and the committee have worked hard to keep that building going, because we need outlying community centres. Not everybody wants to drive to Minden to do everything. They want their communities to still survive.”