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Heritage committee recommends one large HCD rather than two

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Amherstburg’s heritage committee received an update on the proposed heritage conservation district (HCD), including a change of what is in and what is not.


Committee members heard from Nick Bogaert of the consulting firm MHBC at their meeting last Thursday evening with much of the discussion being about how many HCD’s there should be.


The study areas remained the same but the committee was given the option of recommending one HCD or two, with the idea being to possibly separate the HCD using Sandwich St. S. as a dividing line. The committee ultimately decided to stay with one HCD rather than to split it.


The boundaries in one of the zones would have been North St. to the north, Park St. to the south, the Detroit River to the west and Sandwich St. S. to the east with the other zone being east of Sandwich St. S. with Richmond St. to the north, Wolfe St. to the east and Simcoe St. to the south. That two zones will be kept together as one HCD.


Had the committee recommended two HCD’s, it would have meant removing Sandwich St. S. altogether.


What is being removed from consideration as an HCD is an area on Dalhousie St., inclusive of the Belle Vue property. The consultants and town heritage planner Adam Coates recommended that not be made into an HCD due to it having “less cohesive character” than the other area. It was also noted that area is “physically separated and located outside the traditional settlement areas.”


The areas of the downtown core that are being included in the proposed HCD contained homes built in the late 19th Century or early 20th Century, Bogaert pointed out, though some date back to the early 19th Century. Most of the homes are in “very good” to “excellent” shape.


The suggestion to use Sandwich St. S. as a dividing line was because the street is a “transition area” as there are older properties there but some modern ones as well.


Committee member Frank DiPasquale wanted to make it one HCD area instead of two, questioning whether two would be more difficult for town administration to look after.


“From an administrative side, there would be no difference,” said town heritage planner Adam Coates. “The two options include the same amount of work from an administrative side.”


DiPasquale also wondered why the area including Belle Vue is protected.

“I don’t understand the optics behind that,” he said.


Consultants and town staff noted there are already homes protected in the area with two more needing it. The Belle Vue itself is already designated. Bogaert said there is more of a collection of homes in that area versus an actual streetscape and that it would be best to deal with the Dalhousie St./Belle Vue area through individual designations.


“This is outside the traditional settlement area of the town,” Coates added.

Having two HCD’s encompassing both sides of Sandwich St. S. would have allowed for different sets of guidelines but the committee voted to keep the HCD as one big area and keep Sandwich St. S. a part of it. Deputy Mayor Chris Gibb said he preferred to keep Sandwich St. S. as part of the HCD, stating while there has been change to the busy street over the years and more likely to come, the town would still have control in the area between North St. and Simcoe St.


The committee also touched on legislation that, if passed, would extend the deadline for municipalities to protect listed heritage properties by an additional two years. The new deadline would be Jan. 1, 2027.


Coates noted Bill 200 passed first reading, adding that if it does get approved it would “help tremendously” to protect heritage buildings in Amherstburg. Committee vice chair Shirley Curson-Prue voiced some skepticism the bill would pass, but was hopeful that it would.


Committee member Stephanie Pouget-Papak preferred the option where the HCD would be one big area, rather than separated into two. She thought it would be better to have everyone feel valued and included rather than dividing the area into two separate HCDs.


Chair Simon Chamely also believed it was better to have one HCD, suggesting certain streets within the HCD could be identified if there were certain guidelines suggested for them.

Heritage committee recommends one large HCD rather than two

By Ron Giofu

 

 

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