News   Oct 04, 2023
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This Week in Heritage Preservation Crimes

just took this pic today around 12:50pm

well, i can't seem to get this pic up right now.. i'll have to DL off my phone later.
but, the whole front facade is now gone, as is the roof.
side, and rear walls only. pile of rubble in the middle.
Poor thing - it is sad to see a building go. There can't be good new buildings without the old ones making room though... I love the Chapters bookstore on the corner of Bloor and Runnymede (converted movie theatre) and wish that all old movie houses could get to to keep at least some of their former glory and find new lives.
The Century seems like it would've been a good opportunity for Stinson. It's too bad he's so obsessed with ideas that will never work.
The owner of 7 Austin Terrace/the Maclean home has applied for a demolition permit, which is legal even though the home is designated. City is reviewing the application. May go to the OMB. Home will still rot though.

Unbelievable gall of this owner, considering its the only time in recent memory that the Ministry of Culture intervened in a heritage issue.
"Home will still rot though."

What policies are other cities putting into place with regards to their heritage buildings to help prevent this??
First of all, let's prevent it.

You start with giving the owners enough $$$ incentive, so they don't let it rot and instead restore and re-adapt.

If they choose to let it rot, some cities actually criminally charge the owner.

Others charge or tax based on how long the site is vacant.

Others insist that the building is bordered up and protected with property standards. Or minimum property standards for heritage buildings.

Some buildings - shock of all shocks - are actually inspected! The owners are fined, or the restoration work is done and they pay.

Others put the power directly in the Mayor's hands, so he can force restoration without paperwork.

Many cities use a combinations of laws and standards. Even most US cities don't feel they have enough tools to fight demolition by neglect. It's always the property owner's rights versus heritage concerns.

We have a bylaw in Toronto, that can force work to be done. It takes too long and isn't enforced. No enforcement - what's the point then?
Heritage remains a fiery issue

A sensible policy must recognize our city has both a past and a future.

That there’s a distinction between truly historic buildings that should be preserved, and run-of-the-mill old ones, often neglected or abandoned, that are accidents waiting to happen.

To be effective, there has to be a viable financial plan for preserving a heritage building, attractive to the property owner. To simply expect a private developer to eat the cost of preservation and restoration out of the goodness of his or her heart, is unrealistic.

The partial subsidies the city now offers for preservation work are a good idea but practically speaking, often provide little incentive for a developer whose real interest is in demolishing the site and redeveloping the property.

In the end, the issue comes down to who will pay and more specifically, how much are taxpayers willing to pay to preserve our past?

Just as developers have a legitimate role in keeping our city growing and vital, politicians have a legitimate role in galvanizing the community to preserve real landmarks.

But abusing the heritage process to harass a developer for the sake of a few local residents who unreasonably want a property preserved, discredits the process.

Ditto using heritage designation as a bludgeon to demand unreasonable concessions from the property owner.

Consider the source, though. It isn't like I'd trust the Sun editorial board to judge what are "real landmarks" (Mike Filey notwithstanding). That'd be like assigning a Peter Worthington type to judge "real art"...