However, if designation is successful, the Ontario Heritage Act prohibits owners from altering, refurbishing or modernizing the structure without receiving approval from Heritage Barrie (only after a comprehensive and likely drawn-out application process).Hallelujah! Someone with a modicum of common sense. He must have been paying attention to what city council in Orillia is considering-- purchasing old schools. That would place Orillia in full control of determining what happens with these 'heritage' assets, in the meantime keeping the facilities in public hands.
In my opinion, this does not make for an attractive development project in need of a major overhaul. On the contrary, it exponentially shrinks the already small pool of potential suitors.
Here is where it gets weird: The rules are clear regards altering a heritage building, but I do not believe even if the building were to be designated heritage that there is anything in the OHA that would stop an owner from demolishing the building anyway.
So in essence, what council will achieve will be to help perpetuate the very thing it is attempting to avoid. Moreover, this action will reduce the value of the site to land value only (minus the demolition costs of course).
And that loss of equity would be at the sole expense of the school board.
If the intent is truly to preserve history (on someone else's dime), surely there must be a more intelligent way to go about it. (Bold is my emphasis)
Saturday, July 4, 2009
It's nice to see Barrie city council (and those who supported its decision earlier this week) being schooled on what exactly the decision to designate the city's Prince of Wales school really means. Check out this letter written by Shawn Bubel Thornton posted Friday in the Barrie Examiner: