The Wellesley Township Heritage and Historical Society is putting money towards a study of heritage sites in Wellesley, with an eye to future historical designations.
“We have been losing historical buildings in the township quite frequently since our last historical designation,” said Ron Hackett, the organization’s chair.
Hackett made a presentation to Wellesley council July 28, asking the township to approve spending $20,000 on the study.
The study will be carried out under the auspices of the Heritage Resources Centre at the University of Waterloo, with the legwork being done by university students as part of their coursework.
The funding breaks down to $11,200 for a full-time project coordinator; $1,680 for benefits; $500 for office supplies, including photocopying; $1,280 for travel expenses; $375 for meals; and the university’s overhead of $4,510.50, for a total of $19,545.50.
The money will come from the Koehler estate fund, which was left to the township for historical society purposes.
In 2007, the township received a bequest from Jack Koehler, a Kitchener man whose great-grandparents had settled in Wellesley Township. The township received an initial payment of $340,000, and more recently received another $15,000 when the estate was settled.
Last year, the historical society put some of the interest toward having its collection professionally catalogued.
Answering a question from Coun. Jim Olender, Hackett said there is currently $7,000 in interest in the account, meaning the other $13,000 would come out of the principle.
Hackett is hoping the study will get underway soon. The funding covers 16 weeks of work, and the plan is for it to wrap up sometime in December. The students will be looking into heritage sites in four settlement areas: Wellesley, St. Clements, Hawkesville and Linwood.
Mayor Ross Kelterborn questioned whether heritage sites would be designated through the study process. Hackett explained that they are separate processes; the study will simply furnish enough information on heritage sites that the township could go ahead with a historical designation, if the property owners were amenable to the idea.
“It’s basically a fact-finding mission,” Hackett said. “We’re not going to make any decision as to what we’re going to do with the information until there’s been ample input by the public, by council and by the Heritage Resources Centre.”
There are currently nine designated historic sites in the township, including the council chambers in Crosshill and the old school in Wellesley. The Village of Wellesley lost one of its historic homes last December, when fire destroyed a house that had belonged to Christian Burgher, one of the original settlers who came to Wellesley before the township was surveyed.