Clarington to spend $100,000 to preserve and maintain Camp 30’s Cafeteria Building

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Published April 12, 2022 at 10:03 am

Clarington will spend $100,000 – at no direct cost to the taxpayer – to preserve the Cafeteria Building, the best maintained of the remaining structures at the Camp 30 Second World War Prisoner of War site in Bowmanville.

The General Government Committee agreed – subject to Council approval May 2 – to spend up to $100,000, with at least half of that for building stabilization work on the building. Staff has designated $10,000 for a preliminary structural assessment, at least $50,000 for the building stabilization work and $25,000 for perimeter fencing and security for the much vandalized and structurally damaged building.

Because of the “level of uncertainty” of the structural work, staff has requested an additional $15,000 as a buffer, bringing the total ask to $100,000. Former owners Kaitlin Homes and Lambs Road Development had already provided that money for “maintenance and security” (to be placed in the General Municipal Reserve Fund) so the structural work will not be put on the backs of taxpayers.

The Cafeteria Building is the only one of the five remaining POW camp structures currently owned by the municipality, with “future plans” for the transfer of ownership of the remaining four buildings, as well as large portions of the property deemed environmentally sensitive.

Clarington Council has already approved a plan from Kaitlin Homes and Lambs Road Developments for a 1,202-home mixed unit development (along with 700 square metres of retail space) on Lambs Road at Concession Street.

The development will see a combination of low, medium and high-density development along with two municipal roads, a 4.6-hectare municipal park and a Ring Road which will surround the historic buildings.

The five buildings are what’s left of the Camp 30 Prisoner of War Camp, which operated on the site from late 1941 until the end of the war in 1945. The camp, reserved mostly for German officers, was the site of the Battle of Bowmanville, a two-day affair fought with hockey sticks and whatever else was at hand in 1942, and numerous escape attempts, including an elaborate attempt to break out four submarine commanders in 1943 called Operation Kiebitz.

Prior to its life as a POW Camp, the lands served as the home for the Bowmanville Boys Training School, with two of the early buildings completed in 1927.

According to the Municipality, the Camp 30 buildings will eventually be repurposed and refurbished so that the community can “walk in the footsteps of history” and experience this significant area.

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