published by
2754 Subscribers
HAVING TROUBLE SEEING THIS? CLICK HERE | CONTACT THE EDITOR
headerheader

Issue No. 140 | March 31, 2009

subscribe

Add your Story

Feature Stories

  1. Preserving Ontario's Heritage Schools
  2. PROUD Requests OMB Review of Port Dalhousie Decision
  3. St. Catharine's Standard:Port Dalhousie - Two Calls for OMB Review
  4. Hamilton Spectator: Marble removal begins, Hamilton City Hall
  5. Video on the Restoration of the Alton Mill, Ontario

Events

Heritage Conservation Districts and the Port Dalhousie OMB Decision
Saturday, April 25th
+ read


Ontario Heritage Conference
May 29, 2009
+ read


Cultural Landscapes
April 20-25, 2009
+ read


Old Home Expo
Saturday, May 23, 2009
+ read


Advertisements

ad ad ad ad ad ad ad

Built Heritage News Sponsors

sponsor

1. Preserving Ontario's Heritage Schools
Catherine Nasmith

Brighton School whose future is still uncertain

In late February people gathered from all across Ontario to discuss how to prevent the loss of Ontario’s heritage school buildings. The event took place in the common room of Kensington Market Lofts, which is the site of the former George Brown College. The complex was abandoned for educational purposes in the early 1990’s but through community effort was preserved as private residences. At the end of the day a tour of the building and one suite was provided.

Regrettably, both representatives from the Ministry of Education and the Toronto Catholic School Board who had been expected to attend to answer questions withdrew at the last minute, leaving organizers in a quandary as to whether or not to cancel. Fortunately, there were others who did appear making it a worthwhile educational event, as well as a chance to develop some strategy ideas. Contact information was collected so that those who participated could continue to share information.

The event was jointly organized by two organizations, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and Community Heritage Ontario. People came from Caledon, Port Hope, Brighton, some came from as far away as Thunder Bay.

Bob Saunders of CHO opened the event and presented a paper on why schools are being lost. Buildings are suffering from deferred maintenance, leading to them being declared “prohibitive to repair”. The formulas favour new construction over restoration even when costs are equivalent. As well school boards are consolidating schools into larger facilities requiring bussing for students who had been able to walk to school beforehand. Not wanting to interfere in another part of government activities, there is some hesitation to designate historic schools, and many school boards have a policy of objecting when designation is suggested. Nonetheless designating a property is an important way for the broader community to have a say about the future of a community landmark when it is threatened, and to ensure that if it is not to be used as a school, that it can at least be recycled. Bob’s paper will be published in full in CHO news, and possibly in Acorn.

Architect Kim Storey spoke about the importance of school yards as part of a community’s public open space system. We tend not to think of school yards as part of our park system, but in many communities they serve more than one role. She noted that it is important for communities to fight the loss of this publicly owned land, to find ways to make schoolyards more public at the same time ensuring safety for pupils. The practice of selling off redundant school sites is short sighted, that no one can adequately predict future demographics and once a site in a community is lost it is very difficult to replace. Kim pointed to an emerging situtation in Detroit where the city is hoping to revive neighbourhoods abandoned during the flight to the suburbs in the 1950’s and 60’s. One of the key obstacles to community revival is the difficulty in re-establishing schools in areas where the lands have been sold off. She suggested short term strategies such as renting out redundant schools in whole or in part to preserve the facilities for future use.

Generally, redundant schools are offered to other public institutions first. That does not always guarantee the future of the buildings, as sometimes the land is purchased but the building replaced by the new owner. However when a school is put on the open market developers snap them up for adaptive re-use.

Developer Alex Spiegel has converted two schools for condominium purposes, one was the Kensington Market Lofts, the second was Lorretto Abbey on Brunswick Avenue in Toronto. He commented that renovating existing buildings is challenging but costs about the same as building new. However “the quality of the finished product is much higher and far more marketable in a historic building.” “People love to live in school buildings, we could never afford to provide the high ceilings, big windows, and generous public areas in a new building.” Interestingly, the school building may be taller than adjacent housing, but communities are generally very supportive of keeping the school building even when they might object to a new building of similar scale in their midst.


Discussion which ensued covered several ideas for action:

  • encouraging adaptive re-use as specialty schools such as for the arts, or special students; ensuring schools are designated;
  • educating the Ministry of Education and school trustees on other options; exchanging success stories; using school property as centres for urban agriculture; use as cultural community centres;
  • offering space for rent to community groups;
  • getting advance warning to communities when a school is in danger to allow time to explore options for preservation as a school or in community use;
  • municipalities to use zoning control to preserve school property;
  • establishing tax incentives to support adaptive re-use;
  • arrange meetings with MPP’s to make them aware of the issues and what needs to be done to prevent loss of public facilities, and
  • finally from Tamara Anson Cartwright. from the Ministry of Culture, ”Designate, Designate, Designate!!!”

 


2. PROUD Requests OMB Review of Port Dalhousie Decision
PROUD Media Release

Architect's rendering

MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT
March 27, 2009 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OMB RULING CONTRADICTS PORT DECISION. PROUD REQUESTING OMB REVIEW

"In dealing with the City's argument to treat the Port Dalhousie Heritage District Guidelines for Conservation and Change as a Heritage Plan under the Ontario Heritage Act 2005 (which would accord it an elevated legal status), ....she (Ms. Campbell) decided ...that she would not treat the Guidelines as a Heritage Plan as suggested by my representations" (City Solicitor Annette Poulin in report to Council dated March 5, 2009). An OMB decision within a Heritage Conservation District (HCD) in the City of Vaughan was based on a totally different interpretation of the Ontario Heritage Act. The Vaughan decision, issued 8 days prior to the Port decision, directly contradicts Campbell's ruling. “We were deeply disturbed by this news and will be requesting an OMB review to clarify these conflicting legal interpretations", stated PROUD President David Bergen (see excerpts from Port and Vaughan Decisions below).

On March 9, 2009, PROUD, advised Council it would not be appealing the Port OMB decision to the courts. Despite not having appealed, PROUD continues to believe in always being open and clear with our elected representatives and is informing Council that it will be requesting an OMB review of the conflicting decisions. It is PROUD's responsibility to do so in support of the City's, and its own, arguments in support of the Heritage Guidelines. PROUD strongly believes that the Port District Plan has the elevated status provided by the 2005 Heritage Act and that, accordingly, Council "shall not ...pass a by-law for any purpose that is contrary to the objectives set out in that plan". [41.2 (1) (b) of Ontario Heritage Act]. Should the OMB review uphold the City/PROUD position, this will protect our precious heritage for current and future generations -not only in our own Port, Yates and Queen districts but, in the other 90 or so Heritage Districts across the Province.

PROUD (Port Realizing Our Unique Distinction) is a Port Dalhousie, community-based, all-volunteer organization founded in 1999. PROUD spearheaded the extensive community consultation process that led to Port Dalhousie being designated as a Heritage Conservation District under the Ontario Heritage Act. Our over 600 members are pro-development and pro-heritage. They strongly support development that is consistent with heritage enhancement and protection.

Please contact: or visit www.saveport.ca
Carlos Garcia
Executive Vice-President
PROUD Port Dalhousie
905-937-7012

Excerpts from Port and Vaughan Decisions


Port Decision - February 26, 2009: "...the Board cannot find, on the evidence, that the District Guidelines were adopted by City Council following a public process like that contemplated by section 41.1 of the new Heritage Act. ...If the City believes that the District Guidelines constitute a 'moral contract' (as argued by the City Solicitor), it should have followed the provisions of section 41.1 and adopted the District Guidelines through a by-law".


Vaughn Decision - February 18, 2009: "Neither provision specifies that the HCD Plan must have been 'adopted under section 41.1', to be binding on by-laws. This means that the Kleinburg-Nashville Heritage Conservation District Plan (adopted prior to 2005) is still binding on any By-laws 'that affect the designated district', whether the plan was updated or not".

 

Editor's Note:
All over the province people are worried that unwanted development can be forced into Heritage Conservation Districts, if you are one of them write to the chair of the OMB with your concern, and to your MPP, to the Premier and to the Minister of Culture.


3. 2009 RAIC Gold Medalists-John and Patricia Patkau
RAIC Press Release


OTTAWA March 19, 2009 – The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2009 RAIC Gold Medal: Vancouver-based architects John Patkau, FRAIC and Patricia Patkau, FRAIC.


In choosing John and Patricia Patkau, the Gold Medal Selection Committee noted: “They fulfill the dream that ordinary people have about architecture: that life can be more whole, more harmonious, more livable because such a building exists.”


“Their work as architects and teachers has inspired generations of aspiring architects across Canada.” “They create architecture that matters.”


Patricia Patkau, FRAIC graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Interior Design degree in 1974 and from Yale University with a Masters in Architecture in 1978. John Patkau, FRAIC attended the University of Manitoba where he received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Environmental
Studies degrees in 1969 and a Master of Architecture degree in 1972.


They founded Patkau Architects in Edmonton, Alberta in 1979. In 1984 they relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia. Both are Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Honorary Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects, members of the Royal
Canadian Academy of Art, and Members of the Order of Canada.


Patkau Architects has received significant national and international awards, including twelve Governor General’s Medals, four Progressive Architecture Awards, sixteen Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence, an RAIC Innovation in Architecture Award of Excellence, and three AIA Honor Awards.

In 1996, Patkau Architects was selected to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale. In March of 2009, Patricia will be awarded the 2009 Tau Sigma Delta Gold medal for exemplary commitment to architectural education and to the practice of architecture.


John and Patricia have been committed to both teaching and practice throughout their careers. Patricia is a member of the faculty at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia, and both Winnipeg-born architects have travelled Canada and the world to teach,
lecture, and participate in symposia.


The RAIC Gold Medal is awarded in recognition of significant contribution to Canadian architecture, and is the highest honour the profession of architecture in Canada can bestow. It recognizes an individual whose personal work has demonstrated exceptional excellence in the design and practice of
architecture; and/or, whose work related to architecture, has demonstrated exceptional excellence in research or education.


4. Letter to the Editor re: The Grange
Jennifer Rieger, Curator of the Grange

The Grange

I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the balanced review of The Grange and the member’s lounge.  I think you laid out the process fairly and accurately.  Historically, there are a couple of mistakes. 

The house was built by D’Arcy jr. who was a merchant and minor government bureaucrat.  When he died it passed to his wife Sarah Anne who deeded it as part of a marriage settlement to William’s (not Henry) wife Harriette Dixon.  It was Harriette who donated the house as it was in her name not Goldwin Smiths. 

Mary Alice Stuart chaired the restoration committee but it was Peter [Stokes] and Jeanne Minhinnick who did the restoration. 

Although the house was always awkward to get to, we haven’t had basement only access since 1990 with the building of the Atrium in Stage III.  

We are also doing a very interesting historic programme in the house, so there is more going on than just the member’s lounge.
 
I too, hope that 2011 will bring interesting changes.
 

 
 

Editor's Note:
Thanks for the corrections.


5. St. Catharine's Standard:Port Dalhousie - Two Calls for OMB Review
Peter Downs

Citizens group calls for review of Port tower OMB decision

Citizens’ group calls for review of Port tower OMB decision
Posted By PETER DOWNS Standard Staff
Posted 11 hours ago

A citizens’ group is hoping it’s got one last chance to stop a development plan to revamp Port Dalhousie.

PROUD (Port Realizing Our Unique Distinction) filed paperwork Friday asking the Ontario Municipal Board to review its decision last month to approve the Port Place proposal.

“There are just huge stakes for heritage in Ontario. We must have the correct interpretation of the Ontario Heritage Act,” PROUD executive vice-president Carlos Garcia said.

After a marathon hearing that wrapped up in November, hearing chair Susan Campbell ruled Feb. 26 that the Port Dalhousie Vitalization Corp. (PDVC) can go ahead and overhaul the community’s commercial core with an 80-unit, 17-storey condominium tower overlooking the waterfront, a 70-room hotel, 415-seat theatre and a retail centre.

PROUD and the City of St. Catharines had argued that heritage district guidelines for Port Dalhousie constituted a heritage plan for the area, making it improper for the city to approve zoning and bylaw changes to permit a multi-storey condo tower.

Click here for Link


6. Guelph Mercury: OMB Decision in Port Goes against Democracy
Susan Ratcliffe

Who speaks for the people?

In brief, the OMB approved the development because the Port Place development project "is attractive and a desirable boost to the commercial core of Port Dalhousie and the overall city. . . . The future of the city does not hinge on one project but this project could be another significant step toward a city that builds on its assets to create a better future for the overall community."

PROUD (Port Realizing Our Unique Design), a local citizens' volunteer group in Port Dalhousie, says on its website (www.saveport.ca): "We support appropriate development that is consistent with applicable regulations and will not unduly restrict access by all residents or negatively impact traffic and parking. A development that preserves the 'village feel' and historic character will truly revitalize Port Dalhousie and generate major economic benefits for our city and region."

The OMB said in its decision: "Public opinion as expressed in the heat of municipal elections or passionately contested board hearings is not necessarily synonymous with public interest." This statement clearly demonstrates the OMB's rejection not only of local public opinion, but of municipal democracy.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:If you want to read the full text you will have to pay.


7. Hamilton Spectator: Marble removal begins, Hamilton City Hall
Nicole MacIntyre

City Hall shedding its skin

City Hall is stripping down today.

Contractors started to take off the building’s marble exterior with a crow bar just before 10 a.m.

Many of the large slabs shattered when removed, confirming the material is past its lifespan, said Gerry Davis, acting head of public works.

“It’s very brittle,” he said as he watched crews work this morning.

If the city had tried to reuse the material, Davis estimates nearly 70 per cent would have been ruined.

The material is now the property of the demolition company. Davis said given the marble’s poor condition he doesn’t expect it will be reused.

The contractor hopes to start install the building new concrete exterior in June. City Hall’s curtain wall of windows will come down next week, allowing residents to see inside the gutted building.

The $74 million renovation is expected to be done by July 2010.

Click here for Link


8. Globe and Mail:Efforts to Save PoW Site in Bowmanville
Tenille Bonoguore

Fire rekindles bid to mark historic PoW site

A secretive prisoner of war camp in small-town Ontario was the last place Jack Garnett wanted to be on Thanksgiving weekend, 1942.

His family and fiancée were eagerly awaiting his final home leave in Port Hope, but the 22-year-old private was instead standing guard outside Camp 30, a collection of low-slung buildings that housed the highest-ranking German officers in Allied hands.

The inmates had taken control of the facility and the three-day Battle of Bowmanville was on.

Sixty-seven years later, the storied saga of Camp 30 threatens to die in the ashes of a weekend fire that consumed one building and damaged another.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:ACO will be writing to the Minister of Culture asking for support for the local endeavours to preserve this important site. To learn more go to http:/www.camp-x.com


9. Camp X

Learn More about this Important Historic Site

Historian and local municipal councillor Lynn Hodgson has set up this website with information about Camp X.

The site is listed, not designated and will be the subject of a rezoning application for redevelopment. The owner wants to demolish the existing buildings. There is fear of further arson, and no guards in place to prevent such an occurrence.

 

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:Fascinating website with huge amounts of info, and a photo of OO7's modified Aston Martin on the site.


10. Newsdurhamregion.com: Suspicious fire at historic Training School for Boys - Fire guts classroom building
Jennifer O'Meara

The former prisoner of war camp has been the centre of debate recently.

BOWMANVILLE -- A suspicious fire at the former Training School for Boys has destroyed one historic building.

Clarington fire fighters responded to a call at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, March 28 from a nearby resident that noticed the light from the flames.

Fire fighters responded immediately and arrived at the scene to find the fire had spread throughout the classroom building. Fire fighters put the blaze out but the inside was completely gutted and only a shell of the building remains.

The roof is gone, there's nothing to save, said Clarington Fire Chief Gord Weir. It's quite a substantial fire.

Chief Weir said it's too early to tell if the classroom building can be salvaged.

Fire fighters searched the other buildings on the property and found smoke coming out of the pool/gymnasium building. That second fire was put out before much damage was done.

Click here for Link


11. Centretown Newsonline.ca: Somerset House development put on ice
Building in limbo as owners await court resolutions

Marion Warnica

Plans to restore Somerset House heritage building which partially collapsed in late 2007 are crumbling as owners temporarily abandon attempts to get a building permit.

We're tired of throwing money at the wall, says Hugh Kennedy, the general manager of TKS Holdings Inc, which owns the building.


We deal with one thing and they (the city) just come back with something else. After a while you just give up.

The City of Ottawa required owners to get a new permit after the collapse.

Click here for Link


12. CKWS News Brockville: BROCKVILLE HERITAGE:THE OLDEST STONE BUILDING IN BROCKVILLE HAS SEEN BETTER DAYS.
LIZ COOK

THE OLDEST STONE BUILDING IN BROCKVILLE HAS SEEN BETTER DAYS.

NOTE: includes a news video clip.

Click here for Link


13. London Free Press: Antiquities Shoppe tops endangered list
KATE DUBINSKI

Older than many wares you can buy inside it, a London antique store has a dubious new distinction -- it's cracked the annual list of endangered heritage properties in the city.

The bright red Antiquities Shoppe building at 129-131 Wellington St., just south of the core, was built as a store and home in 1873 when the city's southeastern area was home to an oil-processing industry.

The Heritage London Foundation has included the site among five on its just-released "Buildings on the Brink" list.

Click here for Link


14. London Free Press: Owner pushes for Elgin County building to house all St. Thomas courts - Fate of historic facility remains up in the air
Chip Martin

Does the historic Elgin County courthouse have a new lease on life?

Its owner has a new lease with the province, but he's as confused as anyone about whether that may save the 156-year-old building on Wellington Street.

"Who knows what they are going to do?" said London businessperson Shmuel Farhi.

The Ontario Realty Corp. (ORC) has just renewed its lease with Farhi for five more years as the government agency continues its hunt for a site for a consolidated courthouse operation in St. Thomas.

Farhi said while he's pleased with the five-year deal, he's not convinced it shows the ORC favours his plan to update and expand the architectural gem.

Click here for Link


15. Northumberlandtoday.com: Letter to the Editor re:Port Hope Town Hall/Pier Project
Paul Bennett

Heritage preservation a battlefield

Heritage preservation a battlefield
Posted By
Posted 2 days ago

Last evening I went by road around the Port Hope Town Hall. It is a handsome heritage building and it is meant to stand alone. To put a "big-box store addition" at the back or side connected to the main Town Hall block by an umbilical chord would be a sacrilege or even an abomination.

I have yet to hear a positive statement from citizens on the concept. One important comment emerged. Is the collecting of all municipal offices in one place meant to help the ordinary citizen or is it to make life easier for the town's elected officials and municipal workers, especially in view of the recession that is on us at this time? I would hazard a guess that the average homeowner will be asked to pay a good part of the $12-million price tag.

One lady e-mailed me some interesting suggestions:

Why not move the entire town hall and all the departments to the buildings on the pier? They would have plenty of room. The existing Town Hall could be put to other uses. There is no place in Port Hope large enough for a good percentage of the community to fit into. Galas could be held there, such as the annual one held to benefit Northumberland Hills Hospital. The municipality could rent the spaces out for weddings and conventions.

The lady also suggested, if the "big box" goes ahead, it would be a good idea to recycle the windows and bricks from the one pier building that has to come down to "give a nod to our industrial past."

A professional gentleman spoke to me and suggested the attic space of the present Town Hall could be turned into useful office space. Then, there have been the suggestions concerning the former public utilities building at the foot of Walton Street, or the former waterworks building on Augusta. The architect originally intended that building to have a second floor and space was left on the lot to extend that building.

A Cameco official told me the cost of demolishing the old buildings on the pier has been estimated and it would cost more to tear them down than to repair them.

I have always believed in democratic government. Two episodes at our municipal level in the last year have greatly strained my beliefs. The fact is the actual rules of democratic procedure have been used but the spirit of democracy has been trampled on.

One incident happened this year. The Pier Group and supporters, 300 strong, made an extensive report, paid for by the Port Hope Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, on the history and condition of the three industrial buildings still left standing on the Port Hope waterfront. The chair thanked the spokesman and then, immediately, a motion was presented and passed to turn this report over to the Harbour Commission. A perfect way to bury an expensive and important study. The Harbour Commission consists of the whole municipal council plus a very few outsiders who can easily be outvoted. In other words, despite a strong local interest in preserving these buildings, council with its own set agenda, will pull the buildings down against the majority wish of the citizens.

Click here for Link


16. Ottawa Citizen: MPs on move as West Block crumbles

The federal government will convert the former Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in downtown Ottawa into committee rooms for MPs as part of its plan to vacate the crumbling West Block next year, the Ottawa Citizen has learned.

The federal department of Public Works plans to empty West Block by fall 2010 in order to proceed with a long-delayed major rehabilitation. The project will take 10 years and cost more than $1.3 billion, including renovation of interim space for West Block occupants and functions.

Click here for Link


17. Owen Sound Sun Times - OMB allows property split, semi-detached homes
Denis Langlois

Neighbours fought westside project

Residents of an Owen Sound neighbourhood fear a recent victory by a developer will spell the end of the small-city charm of their street.

Barry's Construction has won an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board to allow five minor variances, after the city's committee of adjustment denied approval last October.

The variances to Owen Sound's planning rules permit a 1.3-acre lot on 29th St. W. to be severed into four residential parcels, including two lots for a semi-detached home, which will have a smaller area, frontage and side yard setbacks than are normally allowed.

Click here for Link


18. Video on the Restoration of the Alton Mill, Ontario
Catherine Nasmith

A Good News Story for a Change

An Important good news story that I am proud to say has been the major projects in my office for the past few years.

The real heroes of this project are the courageous owners who took a risk on a very delapidated stone mill and have managed to ride the hills and valleys of approvals, government funding and an uncertain construction process to bring this mill back to useful life as an arts centre.This project has triggered interest in purchase and restoring other buildings in this village.

Jordan and Jeremy Grant are interviewed with wonderful footage of the project interiors, before and after. As well they comment on the importance of government support in making the difference between a viable and impossible project.

Click here for Link


19. Waterloo Record: Facebook group hopes save Barra Castle
Terry Pender

KITCHENER - Tari Bolt is frustrated to see a unique building in a heritage conservation district -- the Barra Castle on Queen Street South -- slowly crumble.

"I just think it's a shame," Bolt said of the apartment building at 399 Queen St. S.

In August 2007, fire and electrical inspectors ordered everyone out of the building, citing numerous violations. The owner was in the midst of renovations and had already installed a new roof and refurbished several units.

Since then the castle, which was built in 1930, has sat empty and unheated.

Click here for Link


20. Waterloo Record: Hearing delayed for apartment building in heritage district
Terry Pender

KITCHENER - The long-planned move to protect the city's oldest neighbourhood from unsightly new buildings is stuck in bureaucratic limbo.

And it could be another six months before it's known if the Civic Centre Heritage Conservation District will become a reality or get struck down by a provincial board.

In an effort to block the heritage designation of the area, Community Expansion Inc., the developer that wants to put up a five-storey apartment building on Margaret Avenue, has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, the provincial tribunal that rules on land-use disputes.

A meeting of the board was scheduled for March 17, but after a request for a delay from Community Expansion, that meeting has been pushed back to Sept. 1.

"We have a concern in terms that we don't want this to go on indefinitely," Leon Bensason, the city's heritage planner, said.

"Because of this appeal the implementation of this bylaw is put on hold for the rest of the district while we deal with the issues of one appellant," Bensason said.

Click here for Link


21. Winnipeg Free Press.com Blog: Saving downtown once more
Dan Lett

There is an excellent article by Murray McNeill in today's FP on how to encourage development in Winnipeg's downtown. I found it fascinating not because it provided a new take on an old problem - in fact, the suggestions raised by three prominent developers were pretty old news - but because it underlined the heart of the problem with Winnipeg's downtown. Namely that we've known all along how to solve the problem but we've never taken the plunge.

Developer Hart Mallin, architect Rudy Friesen and real estate agent Bill Thiessen all concluded that the three levels of government have to provide more generous financial incentives to make it worthwhile to build new structures and rehabilitate older, heritage buildings. This has been the argument from the private sector for the 23 years I have lived and worked in Winnipeg. And for a variety of reasons, government has never really stepped up to the plate.

Mallin in particular puts some hard numbers into the discussion that help laymen like myself get a fix on what developers believe they need to make it work. Mallin told the FP that existing grants cover about five or six per cent of the total project costs. In reality, the additional costs and complications of building downtown, or rehabilitating heritage buildings, require grants that cover 24-26 per cent of project costs. Obviously, there is huge gap there between what the developers and bureaucrats think on the issue.

Click here for Link


22. Winnipeg Free Press: It's broke; here's how to fix it
Murray McNeill

Downtown needs better incentives, developers say

One of the city's key incentive programs for stimulating new downtown housing development is "useless" and need to be quadrupled to make such projects financially attractive, according to one downtown developer.

"Property-tax refunds are useless," Hart Mallin said, referring to the property-tax rebates and upfront grants in lieu of rebates offered under the city's Multi-family Mixed-Use Dwelling Grants Program.

"It never adds up to more than five or six per cent of your capital costs," Mallin said. "And in order to make downtown developments work and be competitive with greenfield (suburban) development, you need 22 to 24 per cent. That's the sad fact."

Mallin, who was involved earlier this decade in the conversions of a warehouse at 89 Princess St. and the former Supreme Racquet Courts building at 520 Portage Ave. into residential and commercial condos, isn't the only one who thinks the incentives don't cut it.

"I think everyone would say they'd love to see more housing in the downtown -- more options and great choice," Bill Thiessen, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Professional Realty and a former development officer with CentreVenture Development Corp., said in an interview.

"But if what they're providing now was sufficient, don't you think we'd be seeing more new housing coming into the downtown than what we're seeing? I still think it could be much better than it is."

Click here for Link


23. Winnipeg Free Press: The Tyndall stone lives on, the Public Safety Building may not
Bartley Kives

ABOUT 450 million years ago, whats now southern Manitoba sat at the bottom of a vast ocean teeming with marine creatures such as trilobites and brachio­pods, which were sort of like crabs and scallops but didnt survive long enough to make it on to Red Lobster menus.

Over the next few million years, the remains of those creatures combined with the ocean floor to create the dolomite-mottled limestone known as Tyndall stone, even though the cream-and-grey rock is quarried in the town of Garson instead of in neighbouring, name-appropriate Tyndall.

Today, you can find extinct sea creatures and the Tyndall stone that encases them in the walls of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Saskatchewan's legislature and the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que.

But Tyndall stone itself may not survive on the walls of a very high-profile Winnipeg edifice -- the Public Safety Building, a six-storey structure on Princess Street that's been marked for death for 16 months.

Back in November 2007, the city put the brakes on a plan to fix the crumbling facades of the 44-year-old PSB because a repair job originally pegged at about $17 million was actually going to cost more than $40 million.

Click here for Link


24. Edmonton Journal: Latest of modern historic structures put on city list - As buildings become rapidly out of date, heritage planners make an early move
Gordon Kent

Edmonton's list of historic structures has just been modernized.

A warehouse, a movie theatre and a postwar bungalow are among 86 structures, built between 1930 and 1960, added to a historic inventory that had been focused on Edmonton's early days. The updated list highlights the huge growth that occurred after the Second World War, heritage planner Lesley Collins says.

"The intention was to capture these buildings before something happens to them. The building cycle is a lot shorter than it was before, when it could sit around for 100 years," she says. "Now, after 30 years it's old and out of date."

While Collins describes the five-year project as one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada, she says many people don't find the simple lines of modern buildings as attractive as something from the Victorian era. But these structures help tell the story of Edmonton, she says.

"Our historic buildings are not simply about the way they look. There are other elements. It's about history, it's about the culture of Edmonton, it's about how the city developed, it's about important people."

David Murray, prime consultant for the project, says they went through all the Edmonton building permits from 1930 to 1959 and came up with a preliminary list of 2,000 candidates that was whittled down to the final choices. Some of the builders and architects, or their families, were still alive and able to provide valuable background, he says.

One of his favourite structures is the limestone-clad Paramount Theatre on Jasper Avenue, built in 1951.

Click here for Link


25. Halifax Chronicle-Herald: HRMbyDesign threatens heritage in downtown
Phillip Pacey

Regarding your editorial ("Heritage overreach") of March 24, the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia is concerned that the current municipal heritage protection system in downtown Halifax is threatened by HRMbyDesign. Our alternative plan is a response to this threat.

One hundred and twenty-six buildings in the downtown are registered under the Heritage Property Act. However, this Act only gives protection from demolition for a year, unless the municipality takes action.

At present, the heritage buildings are protected by excellent policies in the Municipal Planning Strategy. These heritage policies state that the municipality will seek to save the heritage buildings, and mandates several actions to achieve this, including negotiating covenants, leasing the buildings, providing financial assistance, and even acquiring the buildings.

In addition, the municipality has set absolute or as-of-right height limits on heritage properties at 25, 35, 40, 45 and 52 feet  heights similar to the heritage buildings. This means that there is little incentive to tear down a heritage building to construct a new building of a similar size.

This protection system has worked well. In the last 29 years, only three registered heritage buildings have been demolished in downtown Halifax, a rate of loss of only .08 per cent per year.

But now the protection system is threatened. HRMbyDesign, a municipal planning exercise, proposes to knock out the key protections for heritage buildings.

Click here for Link


26. St. John Telegraph-Journal: Dexter estate seeks loss of heritage status for house
ANDREW MCGILLIGAN

ROTHESAY - The estate of the late Val Dexter has sent a letter to the town of Rothesay requesting that the home at 37 Gondola Point Rd. be removed from the heritage preservation area.

If the change were granted, it would allow for the house - commonly known as the Dexter home - to be torn down and the oil-contaminated soil cleaned up.

The large stone house sits in disrepair after a large oil spill caused approximately 1,500 to 2,000 litres of oil to seep into the ground in 2002. There was another disaster at the house when hot water pipes burst on the third floor, leading to a large quantity of water flowing through the structure for more than 20 hours, sinking the foundation and damaging most of the building.

The letter signed by June Murphy, the executrix of the Dexter estate and sister of Val Dexter, states the only assured way of cleaning up the contaminated soil is "the removal of the house to gain access to the thousands of litres of oil underneath.

Click here for Link


27. The Scotsman-Edinburgh's Caltongate Developers fail-World Heritage Status at Risk
Bill Jamieson and Brian Ferguson

Firm's collapse leaves gaping hole in the heart of Edinburgh

A MASSIVE development at the heart of Scotland's capital was brought to a halt yesterday, after the company behind the scheme went into administration.
Mountgrange Capital, which has spent more than four years pursuing the £300 million Caltongate project, blamed a withdrawal of support from Bank of Scotland and the slump in the property market for the move. It has cast a huge doubt over the future of the site in Edinburgh's Old Town and the firm's other major development in Scotland, at Linwood, Renfrewshire.

More than 2,000 jobs had been due to be created by the Caltongate development, which would have seen a five-star hotel and conference centre, 200 new homes, office blocks, cafés and bars, and a new public square being built off the Royal Mile, close to Waverley Station.

The news will trigger fears that Edinburgh will be left with another gap site for years.

New housing, offices and industrial complexes were envisaged for the Phoenix Park development at Linwood, near Glasgow Airport, on a site that had lain empty for a decade.

Mountgrange Capital was forced to call in the administrator, Deloitte, just weeks after it emerged the company owed £51 million to creditors.

The firm made a £24 million loss last year and had put various parts of the Caltongate scheme on hold while it tried to raise the necessary finance to keep it afloat. Its directors, Martin Myers and Manish Chande, last night insisted the scheme was not dead and said they would be trying to pursue Caltongate through their own investment fund.

Despite being strongly backed by Edinburgh city council and business leaders, Caltongate was one of the most controversial proposed developments in living memory in Edinburgh city centre. It triggered a vocal community campaign and was opposed by numerous bodies, including Edinburgh World Heri-tage and the Cockburn Association. Most concerns surrounded plans to demolish two listed buildings to make way for the hotel and conference centre.

The development was widely blamed for triggering a Unesco investigation into Edinburgh's world heritage status.

Click here for Link

Editor's Note:If you read down the comments below the article you will see the general public delight with the failure of this development.....Edinburgh Council seems to have lost its way.


28. Place Economics: Rypkema Addresses European Parliament on Heritage and the New Economy
Donovan Rypkema

Heritage, Environment, and Economic Stimulus

Rypkema addresses European Parliament

Heritage Investment: Counter Cyclical Opportunity in Economic Downturns

 

Thank you Dr. Gutierrez-Cortines for inviting me here for this important hearing.

Europeans generally understand the components of sustainable development: environmental responsibility, economic responsibility, and social/cultural responsibility.

We have known for some time that unless we make significant changes quickly, our environment is not sustainable. What we have learned in the last 120 days is that we have built our economy on foundations and assumptions that are also not sustainable.

So governments have two simultaneous challenges: how to get the economy rolling again, and how to restructure our economies so that they become sustainable. Heritage conservation has a central role in responding to both of those challenges.

Counter-cyclical economic strategies should be both efficient and effective. Heritage conservation meets that test with projects ready all over Europe the funding of which would put people immediately to work. Heritage conservation strategies target the construction trades - one of the industries most affected by this recession. Simultaneously, there is a shortage of craftsmen in a variety of restoration skills. So job training, job creation, and a life time profession can be encompassed within the same strategy.

Those aren't just jobs. They are good, well-paying jobs, particularly for those without formal advanced education. They are not make-work jobs; they are real, productive jobs.

Counter-cyclical strategies should target long term capital improvement projects. Heritage buildings are certainly capital assets but also, almost by definition, are long term in perspective -how long they have lasted already and how long they can last into the future if we protect them.

Counter-cyclical strategies should create jobs and generate personal income. Heritage conservation is a labor intensive activity with 60 to 70 percent of the total expenditure on labor rather than materials. This has a significantly greater initial impact on a local economy than does new construction, but also much larger secondary impacts. Once installed, materials don't spend any more money. But the carpenter, plumber, and electrician each spend their paycheck locally on a haircut, groceries, and paying local taxes.

Since this recession is world-wide, counter-cyclical strategies should have widely dispersed benefits. Because heritage buildings are spread throughout Europe and are located in both the largest cities and the smallest villages, a heritage-based strategy automatically has wide-spread benefits.

Click here for Link


29. New York Times: Chicago Challenge to Preservation Laws
MONICA DAVEY

Challenge to Landmark Law Worries Preservationists

CHICAGO - Carol Mrowka considers her East Village neighborhood here attractive, comfortable - and ordinary. So when the city deemed the area an official landmark, Ms. Mrowka found it absurd and went to court.

"Sure, it's a nice neighborhood," said Ms. Mrowka, a real estate agent who moved 12 years ago to the neighborhood, north and west of the Loop, with its cottages and small, flat buildings that were home to immigrants in the late 1800s. "The basic style of the buildings is pretty, but this is not a landmark."

Now her case has been appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, raising alarm among preservationists about the future of scores of such landmark districts and buildings in a city that adores its architectural legacy.

"The fact is, Chicago could not exist without its landmark ordinance," said Jonathan Fine, the executive director of Preservation Chicago, a nonprofit group. "It's the line that holds us back from the Neanderthals."

A state appellate court sided with Ms. Mrowka and Al Hanna, a resident of Lincoln Park, another neighborhood where a section has landmark status, finding that Chicago's four-decades-old ordinance for designating landmarks used "vague, ambiguous and overly broad" terms to sort out what buildings and neighborhoods should be protected from change or demolition.

The City of Chicago appealed that decision this month, and both sides are waiting to hear if the Illinois Supreme Court will take the case.

City lawyers say that if the ruling stands, any of the city's landmarks - except perhaps those that are protected through separate federal or state programs - could have their protected status challenged, said Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the city's law department.

Click here for Link