“I’m also appearing before you tonight with regards to the agenda item : HAC12-01 from last week’s G.C. meeting : Heritage Advisory Committee Report of December 16, 2011.
Having attended the HAC meeting of December 16th it is more than a little diconcerting to read in this week’s Auroran the chair of the HAC quoted as saying:
“We wish we could keep that building (but) I don’t think we have the “authority” in our municipality to do “anything” about the buildings that are losing their glory and upkeep.”
I would suggest that this is the exact purpose of the H.A.C, and there are several resources that provide “authority” to the comitte and the municipality to carry this out.
I present to you 3 of these as outlined in a presentation recieved by council back in 2006 by Aurora’s then Community Planner Michael Seaman titled “Best Practices for heritage conservation in suburban municipalities” : http://www.heritagecanada.org/conf/2007/pdf/Michael_Seaman.pdf
The first of which is of course the Ontario Heritage Act which includes Provincial Policy Statement 2.6.1. : http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page1485.aspx#2.6
Apparently, the Town’s Community planner noted that this is “not” optional
Second is the “Aurora Heritage Building Evaluation System” based on the internationally recognized Parks Canada system adopted in 2005.
The Browning house scored a 91.2 out of 100 in this evaluation, which was conducted as recently as Sept 2009. Potentialy the highest ever awarded by the group placing it into group 1, which states:
“every attempt must be made to preserve the building.”
How does a motion to demolish the house reflect this?
The report further states:
The George Browning house is a significant contributor to the character of Yong street
The existing house is to be retained and restored as a prominent heritage feature on Yonge Street.
Which is of course why it was designated in 2009.
Yet here we are the first month into 2012 and you now recieve a recomendation to demolish a building designated just over 2 years ago.
You should be asking yourself why an Aurora landmark should be demolished “simply” because it can’t be a Montissori school.
The town doesn’t require additional tools or authority, it simply needs to implement what it already has.
Failure to do so questions the integrity of the designation process and that of the HAC as a whole.
The Browning house doesn’t need to become a failure for this council to learn fromand that is why I urge council to pull this item this evening and defer it back to the HAC so that proper assurances can be made that this decision is consistent with the Ontario Heritage Act.
- Sustainable development is crucial for economic competitiveness.
- Sustainable development has more elements than just environmental responsibility.
- “Green buildings” and sustainable development are not synonyms.
- Historic preservation is, in and of itself, sustainable development.
- Development without a historic preservation component is not sustainable.
“What is the whole purpose of the concept of sustainable development? It is to keep that which is important, which is valuable, which is significant. The very definition of sustainable development is the “…ability to meet our own needs without prejudicing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” We need to use our cities, our cultural resources, and our memories in such a way that they are available for future generations to use as well. Historic preservation makes cities viable, makes cities livable, makes cities equitable.
Sustainability means stewardship. There can be no sustainable development without a central role for historic preservation.”