Reprinted from the ACO Newsletter
Demolition of Beech Cottage Begins
A building permit has been issued to demolish and replace the house at 204 Beech in Toronto. This was such a difficult case, that would never have happened if Beech has been in a Heritage Conservation District. It might have been, but I am told that back in 2004, some lawyer on the street complained about property rights and convinced everyone that it was a bad idea. I have written an article about this in Open File.
Then there is the problem of the overworked and understaffed Heritage Preservation Services, who couldn't be bothered to have a look at the house. Catherine Nasmith was quoted in a great Star article about this, noting:
"There are huge areas of the city that haven't been surveyed," says Nasmith. And because of that, "you end up in these eleventh-hour, horrible fights with people. And it's just sad and it's painful and not fun for anybody. And it doesn't help because it creates this negative culture around heritage preservation, instead of people knowing in advance and celebrating what's great in the city."
204 Beech was one of the inspirations for www.thisplacematters.ca, which is beginning to get some traction. Now we have a new problem: how to follow up on a building at risk that gets put up on it.
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