Around here, older houses are being demolished all the time, usually to make way for the biggest possible homes builders can get away with erecting. Down the road in Mimico, both a demolition application and a heritage status application were made for a home on Superior Ave. The demolition permit was issued a day before the Preservation Board meeting. Monday morning a demolition crew showed up. I read that at one point a woman had chained herself to the building but that did not stop the building from being trashed.
The building in question is one of 3 stone cottages unique in the area. You can read more details about the issue at BlogTo. I really have no idea if Heritage status is appropriate for this property, but in a more reasonable world, with both applications in play, the City or the Province or whoever is really in charge, should decide if we want to protect the building as a Heritage site before allowing the heavy equipment in, particularly since the responsible local politician was aware of the situation and was supporting heritage designation. Trashing the building a few hours before heritage status was to be decided was simply wrong. This demolition makes our complex multi-level processes and committees and political involvement seem like a joke.
I’m tired of the games. We have an official plan, but my experience having attended various Committee of Adjustment and other hearings is that has become meaningless. Major changes are called minor and many outrageous redevelopments are granted in the name of creating more housing. There are planners and lawyers whose entire focus is working our system.
Francine Kopun in the Toronto Star quoted our Councillor Mark Grimes: “It was heartbreaking to see this house come down.” He says he will request a review of the city’s heritage designation process. A review is a bit late, unfortunately, and I will be surprised if anything actually changes. Councillor Grimes apparently worked to stop the demolition but his efforts were ineffective. The developer had originally applied to build a triplex, according to The Star. That application was deferred at Committee, so instead he submitted a plan to build a single-family home – and he got his demolition permit. So, is the plan to build a triplex on the site dead? Apparently that original request is still out there and may be heard in the future.
Do we want to protect the character areas of our city? Does our history matter? Do we care about protecting green space and a robust tree canopy? Based on my experience here in Long Branch seems as if much of the time, profit rules. It must have been tremendously disheartening for local residents who have been fighting to protect the home to watch it fall on Monday.