- Hub staff

When you see the portapotty arrive, you know the project is starting.

It has been more than 10 months since the unsafe order went up on the grandstand at Victoria Park.

It was addressed to both the Owen Sound Agricultural Society who own the structure, and the City of Owen Sound who lease them the property on which it stands, and it gave them until June 22, 2022, to “obtain a current report by a Professional Engineer licensed in the Province of Ontario on condition and viability of the structure.” (Click on images to enlarge.)

unsafeorderunsafenotice2Last week fencing was erected around the bottom of the grandstand, and today the work began to remove the unsafe parts of the bleachers and the buckled steel wall.

The building under the grandstand, the site of exhibits and cub car races at fairs gone by, is now storage for fall fair signage and some seasonal vehicles.

According to the lease agreement (p.77) costs for maintenance and repairs are to be borne by the Ag Society.

The Agricultural Society's website notes that “the first wooden Grandstand structure was built in 1894, and in 1948 the Grandstand as well as three barns / buildings perished in a fire. The Agricultural Society quickly rebuilt the mostly metal and concrete structure that we see today at Victoria Park in the early 1950s.”

A campaign was launched last September to repair the grandstand – a Buy A Bench fundraiser that was advertised during last year's Fall Fair.

The website says the total funds required for this project are estimated between $80,000 and $100,000. To date, according to the website, it has raised only slightly over $2,700 from 11 donors towards its $50,000 goal.

“There are countless people who share fond memories watching horse races, heavy horse pulls, and later events like the tractor pulls, truck pulls and demolition derby at the Fairgrounds,” says the website.

2011 Master Plan for Victoria Park, noting the Agricultural Society was already involved in a structural review of the structures at the time, suggested any replacement should be smaller and closer to events taking place on the field, with additional portable bleachers for any large events.

However it also spoke of retaining the portion of wide track used for truck and tractor pulls, so it is unclear how those could be mutually compatible.

A committee has been struck to work on a joint venture of a regional fair with new fairgrounds next to Grey Roots outside of Owen Sound.







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