Donalda community hears about creamery options

The Historic Donalda Cooperative Creamery: A Plan for the Future

At the end of October the Donalda & District Museum held a public information meeting to review the proposed conservation plan for the Historic Donalda Cooperative Creamery put forth by architect David Murray, which was made possible by full funding through the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.

The Donalda Creamery’s heritage value lies in its association with the development of the dairy industry in Alberta. It is also significant for its architecture, which is a prime example of small-scale industrial architecture adapted for use in the dairy industry, and for the equipment it contains which helps illustrate the changes in the dairy processing technology and procedures. The Donalda Creamery was vital in the village’s development and was one of the last remaining creameries of its kind in Alberta.

The goal of the conservation plan is to conserve the building and its history for the future. The building has deteriorated from its years of disuse. However the Donalda & District Museum in partnership with the Village of Donalda wish to bring the Donalda Creamery to a point where it can re-open to visitors, and act as a tourist destination with engaging and informative exhibits.

In summary, the building itself is quite sturdy and meets the current building code with the exception of the roof of the east addition however; the building contains some hazardous materials that exceed the province’s guidelines for safe limits and will therefore require additional care and consideration upon its removal. A majority of the building condition issues are associated with the bottom of the interior and exterior walls. Rising damp and previous flooding has caused the wood sill plates , and some wall studs to rot and deteriorate. Because of this the concrete floor is in very poor condition in most parts of the building and will most likely need to be replaced. Overall, the creamery building is in better condition than previously thought. However that does not mean that the upcoming conservation project will be easy.

Phase 1 of the Donalda Creamery Conservation plan entails digging a trench around the building, preparation and execution of hazardous material abatement, repairing the bottom exterior walls and waterproofing the grade beams, replacing the removed siding at the bottom of said exterior walls, replacing the weeping tile and connecting the sump pump, back-filling and finishing the exterior landscaping. Due to the nature of removing the hazardous material it is best to tackle the exterior rot and damaged siding simultaneously. Consequently this phase of the conservation plan will cover a large portion of the overall buildings conservation. As such it will also cost the most. It is estimated that roughly $200,000 will be needed to complete this initial phase.

As shocking as that starting figure is, the Donalda Museum is already working on acquiring grants and sponsorships that will help share that cost, which will help to drastically reduce the amount that the museum will have to come up with. Phase 1 of the conservation plan is set to begin spring of 2019.

If you are interested in donating towards the Donalda Cooperative Creamery Conservation Project please contact the Donalda & District Museum at 403-883-2100 or for more information email info@donaldamuseum.com.

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