Sunday , 28 May 2023
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Heritage in the Hot Seat Again

Kathy Renwald

A flurry of heritage requests lands on the desks of city councillors this week. After a well publicized and poorly received demolition of a landmark stone house in Ancaster last month, the topic of Hamilton’s disappearing history is hot.

  The Brandon House, an 1867 stone house in the centre of Ancaster was reduced to rubble in April. Though it was on a list of notable heritage buildings, it sailed through the demolition permit process without the slightest waver of a red flag.

  When the public mounted a spirited rebuke of the demolition, Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson was moved to rush 40 vulnerable properties to a registry that would give them some protection from being vapourized.

 Heritage experts have informed me that up to five properties on that list have already been demolished, one of them 40 years ago.

  On Wednesday councillors will hear from two people who want their properties designated, and from another party fighting the city’s intent to designate.

  For 152 years the church across from City Hall on Main Street West has been administering to the spiritual needs of Hamiltonians. The former Centenary United Church is now called New Vision United Church, the congregation has already raised $70,000 to bring the church up to fire code specs. But they need more help.

Jazz concert at New Vision United Church on Main Street West. The church has asked for a heritage designation to protect this historical landmark and access funds to pay for needed repairs. Kathy Renwald photo

  Minster Ian Sloan notes that the church is busy now helping feed the homeless, but their long term goal is to protect the heritage of the church and adapt the building for performance and events. They have engage McCallum Sather architects for the design work.

  Designed in 1868 by architect Albert Hills, the Romanesque Revival Style set the then-Methodist Church, apart from other churches in the city. It’s expected this request for designation will be favorably received.

  Though her house is just outside the core of Ancaster, and therefore not on Councillor Fergusons’s heritage list, Anne Newbigging is requesting designation for her house on Wilson Street East. The 1853 stone house was built for the miller who toiled at the old mill. In 1983 LACAC (they used to shape heritage for the city) prepared a report on the important history of the house.

  On quite a different tone, the city has received a letter from Turkstra Mazza lawyers with objections to the the city’s intent to designate a property known as Evergreen Farm in Flamborough.

  The 1855 structure with links to Billy Green is owned by Jack Dennison. The city of Hamilton wants to designate the house a heritage property, but Dennison, through his lawyers is objecting. The primary reason listed by the law firm is that the house doesn’t meet the criteria to be of heritage value. They also listed what they see as errors in the way the city went through the intention to designate process.

  These items should provoke interesting discussion at the council meeting, just a week after the demolition of the Brandon House was picked apart in the council chambers.

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