Rowing club forced out of its home as repair costs mount

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    Rowing club forced out of its home as repair costs mount

    KITCHENER – Paint is peeling, mould is flourishing, the roof is leaking and the structural integrity is compromised.

    That’s the state of a Cold War-era bunker tucked away in Kitchener’s Schneider Park, just off the Grand River.

    The extensive repairs needed are forcing the Kitchener-Waterloo Rowing Club, which has called the bunker home since 2003, to consider cancelling its season.

    “When you get into large expenditures for maintenance, it was beyond the ability of the club, really,” said Jim Butler, K-W Rowing Club president.

    When the club first took over the more-than-50-year-old bunker, it excavated part of the structure to face the Grand River and installed garage doors for easy access to rowing equipment.

    Last fall, the region, which owns the building and has been leasing it to the rowing club for $1 a year, did a structural analysis of the bunker. The findings, presented earlier this year, forced the region to bar the club from using the building until repairs could be made for safety reasons.

    “It’s not in danger of falling down but it has some serious concerns,” said Bob Weber, manager of property management with the region.

    “We haven’t cancelled their lease, we just said you cannot enter it until the repairs are made.”

    As part of the lease agreement, the club was to take care of the building’s maintenance, but expenditures continued to climb. Recently, the club spent thousands of dollars for asbestos abatement.

    Butler said the region made the right decision in closing…

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