If you stroll past 15372 Yonge Street, AKA Hillarity House ( https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/hillarity-house/ ) you’ll notice the dilapidated and now broken fence that borders Younge Street.
Here are a couple photos:
The fence appears to be violation of section 5,5.1, subsections a) b) c) and e) the Town of Aurora’s Property standards Bylaw 4044-99-05.P :
The Town’s bylaw department has been notified and will be investigating shortly, but this issue has another layer.
The current fence, which was erected in 1975 was modeled after the original fence seen in this photo here:
The “wood fence sheltering house from the street” is listed under CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS on the Historic Places website here: http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=11951
It is well known that the property is designated a National Historic Site, and is protected under Part 4 of the Ontario Heritage act, but what is more interesting is its inclusion in Aurora’s North East Heritage Conservation District means it is protected under Part 5 of the Ontario Heritage act.
This protection means the property is subject to the recently adopted Town of Aurora’s Preservation of Heritage Buildings Bylaw 5489-13 and the fence appears to be in violation of section 5.15.1, subsections a)
and b) of that bylaw.
Fences are referenced multiple times in the North East HeritageConservation District plan:
– page 23 under Physical Features
– page 37 under section 4.6.3 – Fences
– page 97 under 9.2.11 – Fencing
On pages 64 and 97 the very fence is featured in two photos taken 10 years ago:
The condition of the fence has deteriorated significantly in the past 10 years, and the owners of Hillary House have done little to nothing to maintain its condition over that span.
Given that the site is included in the Town of Aurora’s Doors Open event next month I brought this to the attention of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Heritage Advisory Committee yesterday.
The matter was brought up for discussion under New Business and John Macintired, a member of the committee and president of the Aurora Historical Society dismissed responsibility for the issue. He told the committee that although a quote was prepared the fence was ultimately the responsibility of Parks Canada and when contacted was informed that there was no money available for repairs.
Hillary House is owned by the Historical Society, not Parks Canada.
If Parks Canada is not willing to repair the fence the Historical Society is bound under 2 separate bylaws to do so.
Crying poor and trying to pass the blame is despicable. Certainly not becoming of a town and society that continues to flaunt the Prince of Wales Prize.
Where any reasonable organization would have a contingency fund for repairs of this nature for some reason the Historical Society does not.
Curious, given the Aurora Historical Society received $70,000 from the town this year, and for the last 2 years they have run a Hillarity House Ball under the auspice of raising $ for the upkeep of the property.
It also seems incredibly hypocritical that board members of Aurora Historical Society were very vocal about supporting a Conservation District in the South East of Aurora where similar guidelines would be imposed on other property owners in the town when they are unwilling to adhere to their own.
On page 134 of the North East Conservation District the plan does not condone “diminishing the sense of pedestrian safety, and damaging the relation of the street to the buildings on it.”
Then on page 162 the plan also strives to avoid “creating an environment that is actively hostile to pedestrians.”
It is regretful that the owners of the property are unwilling to co-operate in bringing the fence back to code in the most expeditious manner and therefore would expect the Town of Aurora to follow the regulatory provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act, the Planning Act, the Building Code Act, and the Municipal Act as stated in section 8.4 Enforcement of the District Plan.
Of course there are rules for some, and rules for others.
How they are applied in Aurora depends which side of the fence you’re on.