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Links Toronto Council Asks for City Wide Survey
| April 28, 2017

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David Shiner pushes for 'heritage survey' that could help save historic buildings

From Issue No. 258 | May 1, 2017

Toronto city council is expected to vote Friday on a series of motions that would direct staff to study ways to enhance protection for heritage buildings.

Councillors will consider three separate motions, including one moved by.Coun. David Shiner proposing that staff study a city-wide survey that would list "all buildings that have potential heritage value."

Shiner's motion asks the "Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to report back to the Planning and Growth Management Committee in September 2017."

Shiner says such a survey would send a message the city is serious about protecting Toronto's historic structures..

"It's saying we have an interest in building. There may be facets of the building or the whole building we want to protect," said Shiner, who represents Ward 24, Willowdale,

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Currently, there are only two ways to protect buildings in Toronto that may have historical value: an official heritage designation or a conservation district study, which Shiner said require time and effort to complete and can be appealed.

Shiner, who is also the vice chair of the real estate committee, said a heritage list would streamline the system and also benefit developers who would understand the city's explicit interest in a building.

"Anyone who owns it or goes to purchase it knows. And if you do apply for a permit to demolish it or to redevelop it you know we're going to be there."

Shiner's motion inspired by demolition of century-old bank building

Shiner's motion specifically mentions the loss of 2444 Yonge Street, a century-old bank building near Roselawn Avenue, saying the demolition "identified the urgent need to better protect Toronto's built heritage."

There was widespread frustration among conservation and historical associations about the destruction of the beaux arts-style Bank of Montreal building earlier this year.

Linda McCarthy, the vice-president of the Lytton Park Residents' Organization, was in the process of applying to have that building officially designated.

'There's not much left in north Toronto in terms of buildings on Yonge Street.'
- Linda McCarthy, Lytton Park Residents' Organization

But the developer's application to tear down 2444 Yonge St. was approved within the 30-day period required by the province and the developer demolished it.

Editors Notes: Shiner's is one of three motions, all asking for similar things. The motions come from all sides of Council which suggests widespread support for action.
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