Crowds gather at the historic train station in Minnedosa for the arrival of the CP Holiday Train in 2005, when the town’s heritage committee believed it had secured the building for $1 at an announcement made by railway officials.
It appears the Minnedosa Heritage Committee’s bid to take over the community’s historic train station and turn it into a seasonal museum and tourism booth is back on track.
After rejecting a proposal from Canadian Pacific Railway in February because the committee deemed it too costly, the rail company came back with a more feasible offer for the sale of the building.
The new proposal would sell the building to the committee for $1 and provide a lease on the land for $50 per year for 10 years, with an option of extending the agreement for another decade.
The committee will also supply CP with a $30,000 tax receipt, the fair market value of the building, and assume any costs insuring the building, which will range between $2,000 to $4,000 per year.
"The wheels have gone from creaking to squeaking now," committee chairman Brion Pollon said. "We’re optimistic that it will get done, but until pen hits paper, then everything is subject to change."
Pollon, who worked for CP for more than 35 years before retirement, organized a public meeting on May 6 and believes everyone is still on board with the project.
The committee is in the process of doing its due diligence, which includes getting a lawyer to comb through the document before accepting the proposal.
If the agreement is signed, it will still have to go through an approval process by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the federal government and CP.
The "red tape" will mean there is no chance the building could be open this summer.
"This summer will be consumed with planning and restoring the building," Pollon said.
If the agreement is signed, it will end a near-decade-long saga that began in 2005 when the committee believed it had secured the building for $1 at an announcement made by railway officials during the CP Rail’s Holiday Train run.
That announcement triggered a flurry of activity, with the building’s roof being fixed, windows being replaced and new concrete being poured. Pollon estimates approximately $100,000 was sunk into the building after more than 1,000 volunteer hours are included.
That enthusiasm waned after the committee realized it wasn’t going to get the building, and a long negotiation process began with the rail company.
Pollon hopes this new agreement will restore interest in the 105-year-old building.
"There is still a lot of work to be done on the interior of the building to bring everything up to code," he said.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 9, 2014