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Camp Picton (Loch Sloy) proposed for ‘Heritage Inventory Listing’

Photograph from the real estate listing for Camp Picton/Loch Sloy

UPDATE: Agreement reached to include buildings that are worthy of listing and to exclude buildings that are not salvageable.

UPDATE: Property manager Jacqui Burley told committee of the whole Thursday they agree with heritage listings for buildings but that some parts of the property shouldn’t be listed – acerage available for future development, she said should not have any extra layers of red tape and at least six of the barracks should also not be listed as some are not salvageable. The matter goes to council Sept. 26.

SEPT. 13 – A recommendation heading to council to put Camp Picton (Loch Sloy) on the Heritage Inventory Listing of non-designated properties of cultural heritage value does not have support from the board that owns and manages the property.

But it could end up listed anyway as notification of property owners prior to inclusion on the regiser is not required by the Ontario Heritage Act.

The recommendation is to be heard at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Meanwhile, the business park, aerodrome and development land are currently listed for sale at $14,995,000. It includes approximately 688 acres and more than 400,000 square feet of buildings, three runways, six hangers; four separate land parcels and single family residential homes as well as the Flying Club. The Industrial park has more than 50 tenants and a waiting list.

The Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee (PEHAC) and the municipality’s development services staff believe it is a strong candidate for listing.

Camp Picton (Loch Sloy), is not designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, but is considered by PEHAC to be recognized to have cultural heritage value in the community.

Listing a property on the Municipal Heritage Register by council is not appealable to the Ontario Municipal Board by a property owner. Having a listed property does not mean it is designated, or ever will be designated. Owners of properties are not required to obtain special heritage permission for renovations, additions or alterations of buildings, beside the require building permits. Plans for demolition or removal of buildings would require 60 days notice to the County.

Staff and PEHAC compiled research on the property to demonstrate it would be a candidate for listing on the municipal register. PEHAC recommended the listing at its July 20 meeting.

Notice of intent to list the property was given on Aug. 29 via mail, and email. The property owners indicated by telephone they do not wish to be listed.

The research for listing states:
Camp Picton began in 1939 with the announcement that 700 acres would be developed as a Commonwealth Air Training facility to quickly train pilots from across the British Empire for the war effort.

Built at an announced cost of $1,161,000, the camp was one of more than 100 Royal Air Force bases constructed across the country to counter Germany’s dramatic military buildup and significant advances in developing fighter planes and bombers. The British government’s response was the development of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) that created facilities for training pilots and grounds crews in places like Mountain View and Picton.

Local council at the time lobbied hard to have the facility built here as it would prove to have a major economic impact locally, and 550 airmen from Commonwealth countries reported for duty when the camp in Picton became operational on April 3,1941.

Six hangars and 43 other smaller buildings were constructed as messes, accommodations and other facilities. Runways that were 2500 long and 150 feet wide were built. Additional installations were built at Point Traverse and Point Petre, which served as bombing ranges.

In 1948 Camp Picton became home to the Royal Canadian School of Artillery (Anti-Aircraft). In 1960, the 1st Battalion Canadian Guards were posted here receiving The Freedom of the City, the highest honour a municipality can offer.

A small, self-contained town was built in the 1950s serving as quarters for military families and about 1200 people lived there. Many airmen married local women and returned here in retirement. The camp was closed in 1969 with a devastating impact on the local economy.

In 1971, it became an Ontario government facility called Prince Edward Heights (assisting residents with developmental challenges).

The original training site was purchased as a private facility in 1999.
Today, it is one of the few intact bases still standing, and about 25 television and movie productions have taken place at the site over the years. A number of small businesses continue to use the facility today with the hangars used largely as winter storage for vehicles and boats.


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  1. Chuck says:

    As well as a listed property.

  2. wevil says:

    it is much harder to sell a property that is designated

  3. Emily says:

    All governments from municipal to province to federal are infringing more and more on land owners rights. We really no longer truly own our land.

  4. Paul Cole says:

    I think that’s why designation is important so potential purchasers of a designated property are not blindsided when attempting to renovate a property that was designated after they purchased the property. It is unfair in that type of situation..

  5. Chuck says:

    It is important to realize that this is not formal heritage designation. This is heritage listing, which is a list of properties that may be of interest to designate at a later time. Once listed there is a 60 day waiting period to acquire approval for a demolition permit. This provides heritage an opportunity to pursue formal designation. It is good in some cases but also can be very intrusive to a property owner in other cases. For example a body without a nickel invested telling a senior citizen what they can do and can’t do when it comes time to sell their home. I am of the view if you want a say in things and want to preserve a privately owned structure, get your wallet out.

  6. Paul Cole says:

    I’m kind of curious as to why this site would not have already been designated a historically significant site. When you consider the importance Camp Picton/Loch Sloy played in training British Canadian and American Airmen for combat in World War 2. We need to save places like this for future generations…

  7. Chuck says:

    Can discourage sale of property as a listed property leaves uncertainty for a potential purchaser as to whether it will at sometime become designated and placing the owner under the Heritage Act and those controls in terms of any changes to the property.

  8. Miriam says:

    I’m just wondering if anyone knows why the current owners would NOT support the ‘designation’.

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