Waterloo Region to spend $687,000 to repair Cold War bunker

KITCHENER – Regional councils voted to spend $ 687,000 on emergency repairs to its crumbling Cold War bunker.

The abandoned former nuclear bunker was built in 1966 to protect up to 40 key officials for several weeks in the event of a nuclear attack. It is on the banks of the Grand River, near the Freeport Hospital.

The partially underground building has 25 centimeter thick doors and walls and was equipped with its own generator, sewage treatment plant and water supply. It was shut down in 1992 and is in poor condition: the roof is leaking and part of the ceiling has collapsed. It’s contaminated with mold, asbestos, lead, and other hazards.

At a regional budget meeting on Wednesday, city councils voted to spend $ 687,000 in 2022 to prevent further damage and remove hazardous materials. The vote will have to be ratified when the region’s 2022 budget is officially approved on December 15.

“I think this is an important asset to the region and our community,” said Coun. Elizabeth Clarke, who sits on the area’s cultural heritage committee, said the building is unique and should be preserved for a different use.

City councils also agreed to a recommendation that regional workers seek advice from the City of Kitchener and the Grand River Conservation Authority on their requirements as the region renovates the building and converts it into a “flexible, multipurpose community facility.”

Refurbishing the building for a new use would cost $ 4.5 million, employees said. These costs would be spread over two years in 2023 and 2024 and included as part of the investment budget for those years.

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