Lost Villages building may collapse in windstorm, deputy mayor says

A number of two-by-fours hold up the side of the Ernie McDonald Blacksmith Shop at the Lost Villages Museum in Lakeview Heights on Wednesday, May 28, 2020. Deputy Mayor Dave Smith is worried the building could collapse in a windstorm. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LAKEVIEW HEIGHTS – South Stormont’s deputy mayor is concerned about the structural integrity of a 170-year-old historic building at the Lost Villages Museum at Ault Park.

Dave Smith told council Wednesday that the Ernie McDonald Blacksmith Shop on Ault Park Road looks to be in bad shape.

“It’s been propped up by four two-by-fours for, I’m going to guess, a couple of years now. I’ve seen other things, signs and whatnot, that look like they’re sturdier than that. My concern is it’s not going to make it through a windstorm and someone may get hurt,” Smith said.

The deputy mayor adds that the township has “not made any effort to do anything with it for whatever reason” but suggested a fence go up to keep people away.

There shouldn’t be people in Ault Park at this time as it’s already closed under orders due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Amelotte says an engineering firm spent seven hours on Monday doing building assessments at the Lost Villages Museum.

Amelotte says repairs to the Blacksmith Shop was part of this year’s budget as well as three roof replacements, stonework, flower beds and fire pits “that looked like a health and safety hazard.”

He agreed that “the sight of it (Blacksmith Shop) does not look good.” He says the engineers did a quick test on the building and “it didn’t seem to be a major concern.”

Amelotte assured council he would get a fencing contractor in immediately to put up a fence to show the public that the township is concerned about safety around the building.

The Ernie McDonald Blacksmith Shop, originally built on the J. McDonald farm in Cornwall Township, was restored in 1998 after being donated to the Lost Villages Historical Society by the Bob Buiting family.

A building assessment report on all the buildings at the Lost Villages Museum will be coming to council within the next few weeks.