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Council must make decision on Allison Block wing Dec. 20

Allison Block 2011

Renovation sketch

Council must make a decision on the proposed demolition of the rear stone wing of the Allison Block building on Main Street, Picton at its meeting Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7p.m.
Council will be asked to approve the request, or to deny it and direct staff to revise the current designation bylaw to clearly identify the rear stone wing and make the bylaw consistent with the current requirements of the Act.

Victor and Rosemary Smith, owners of the Allison Block building as V&R Properties,  requested approval on Sept. 26, 2011 to demolish the rear stone wing of the Main Street, Picton building.
In their presentation to council’s committee of the whole Dec. 8, they noted the building is in poor condition and continues to deteriorate. Its stonework is severely compromised by repairs and previous demolition; the existing foundation requires extensive repair; the property line prevents adequate soffit construction.
They told council their proposed reconstruction retains historical context, improves safety and security for tenants, is energy efficient and enhances the environment and pedestrian access between King Street/Royal Hotel and Ross Street.
The Smiths intend to invest about $200,000 in the reconstruction, landscaping and interior work and have asked council approval to waive the findings of the heritage committee.

As it is designated heritage property, the request must be discussed by council and the municipal heritage committee.
Earlier this month, the county’s heritage committee completed a review and recommended council deny the request.
A deputation to be delivered Tueday, Dec. 20 by Leigh Moore, of the Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee, states demolition is not adaptive re-use and that the second option PEHAC proposed – namely preservation of the two walls as a stone facade or fence – has not been addressed.

In the first staff report on the matter, also to be delivered Dec. 20, it is noted council is required to give notice of its decision to the owner within 90 days unless a longer review period has been agreed upon by both parties. If no decision is made by council at its Dec. 20 meeting, that will constitute approval of the demolition permit under Section 34 of the heritage act.
If the request to demolish is denied by council, the property owners may appeal the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board within 30 days.
The staff report indicates associate file notes on the bylaw passed in 1993 do not make any reference to the rear portion of the building and it is therefore the opinion of staff that the heritage designation bylaw for the property does not support denial of the demolition permit.
Should council concur with the Heritage Committee, the staff report recommends the bylaw be amended to clearly identify the rear stone wing.

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  1. Elizabeth Globe says:

    The proposed Sketch illustrates a consideration for architectural intent. I have in the past worked on projects that the intention of the designation was the front façade of the building and have been permitted by the Historical Committee to proceed with renovations to the exterior of the building. Is is not reasonable to deny the demolition of an unsafe building or part of a building and to allow for the construction a new safer addition.

  2. Treat says:

    The Smith’s proposal seems reasonable to me. They are proposing to keep the facade of the building on Main Street just the way it is, while investing about $200,000 in a tasteful makeover of a stone shed at the back of the building that currently commands little attention. Though it sounds like the issue may be decided on a technicality (staff are reported as saying that the shed was not explicitly included in the heritage designation), there is a larger matter of principle at stake as well, namely balance.

  3. Doris Lane says:

    The Allison building is one of the few remaing heritage buildings on Main Street. Most of the other buildings of its caliber burned down,I would like to see the facade keep and if work needs to be at the back i can see no reason why this cannot be done
    The Royal Hotel hotel is another story.It would be too bad to see it destoyed but unless an owner has money to restore it what can be done. Are there grants that can be obtained?
    It is for sure that the County cannot afford to put money into it as our financial position is in terrible shape now

  4. Mark says:

    If the demolition is denied then who pays for the repairs to retain the heritage aspect? That’s the problem with this heritage process. It’s one thing to name a building heritage and quite another to expect the owner to have to maintain and repair it in that manner.

    The Royal Hotel is another example. It is unheated and crumbling. In a couple of years it will probably require demolition as a safety issue. If not granted who pays to restore it?

    This is a conundrum.

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