Developer appeals council bid to save Gore Park buildings

A Hamilton developer has moved to hold up council’s bid to save a strip of historic buildings lining Gore Park.

David Blanchard announced notice of objection on heritage designation Friday

A Hamilton developer has moved to hold up council’s bid to save a strip of historic buildings lining Gore Park.

Council voted in December to seek heritage designation for a strip of century-plus-old buildings lining Gore Park in downtown Hamilton. (Paul Wilson/CBC)

A lawyer for Wilson Blanchard, the development firm that owns 18-28 King Street East, has issued a notice of objection to the city’s Dec. 11 vote to begin the process to designate the 19th century buildings as heritage properties. 

Under the Ontario Heritage Act, if a party submits a notice of objection to a proposed heritage designation, the case is referred to the province's Conservation Review Board.

The board is then tasked to conduct hearings on the matter and make a recommendation to council on whether the designation should proceed. 

Armed with review board's report, council may then decide on whether to approve the designation. 

Councillors voted in December to spare the buildings from the wrecking ball. 

The developer had a pair of demolition permits that would have seen the demolition of 18 to 28 King St. E. But in a surprise motion at a Dec. 11 council meeting, Coun. Jason Farr moved to designate the buildings and won unanimous support from fellow councillors.

The developer had two demolition permits — one that expires next July, and one that expires in a month. Farr made the last-minute move, which was a surprise even to his fellow councillors, because he worried the buildings would disappear over the holidays.

The vote put the demolition permits on hold. 

The move to designate the properties comes after nearly a year of meetings between Farr, the city and the developer to save at least the facades of the buildings, which date back to the 1870s.

The city also pre-approved $1.1 million in grants if the developer would designate them as heritage buildings.

With files from Samantha Craggs

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