Shortage delays new composite siding for Russell museum

A while yet before structure stripped of original wood siding

Tom Van Dusen
Nation Valley News

RUSSELL — The COVID-19-driven shortage of building materials has impacted the start date for re-cladding the Keith Boyd Community Museum, pushing it off in all likelihood to sometime in the New Year.

The delay was confirmed by Russell Township Councillor Cindy Saucier who participated Wednesday evening in a Zoom meeting of the Russell & District Historical Society which administers the 1856 wood-sided church museum and the old fire hall annex beside it.

Society president Harry Baker said he asked municipal administration for a project start time, estimated end time, and whether the museum could be used while work was being done. As of the meeting, he had yet to receive answers. During the recent prolonged project to install a new ramp and railings at the church museum, it was closed to the public as well as to historical society members.

Baker acknowledged that many home and commercial building projects are being delayed at the moment due to shortages caused by COVID protocols: “Deck boards are golden right now.”

Both Baker and Saucier have expressed disappointment that township council approved use — with Saucier voting against — of a vinyl-wood composite cladding on what is one of the oldest buildings in the municipality and within the proposed Russell Village Heritage Conservation District.

On one hand, Baker said, council is moving forward to preserve and promote heritage features in the village core, while on the other hand, it has opted for a modern machine siding on one of the main attractions in the district simply because it’s low maintenance. Wood siding matching what’s now on the building should have been the choice.

But that battle is over, he noted during the meeting. When the material — Ridge Wood Cannexel — is finally available, Tal-Co Building Innovation will install it for a total price of $109,859, with $20,000 coming in through a grant from the Russell Police Village account.

Council opted for the Cannexel after staff advised the product has a lifetime of 50 years with regular maintenance, and repainting required every 15 years. All of the old wood siding will be removed as part of the recladding contract.

In other business, it was confirmed that $2,000 in federal COVID assistance available to smaller museums was received, progress is being made on a series of Heritage Vignettes with two in the can, a jigsaw puzzle webinar will be held Oct. 27, and a Christmas lights initiative at the museum  supported by Police Village trustees is being considered. The point was made that any decorations on the church museum shouldn`t interfere with the siding in case it`s suddenly removed.

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