There’s a battle brewing between developer and the city, all in the name of preserving heritage.
A last-ditch – and surprise – effort by downtown councillor Jason Farr to save a row of a hundred-plus year old buildings in the heart of Hamilton happened at the last council meeting of 2013. After an offering of approximately $1 million in city grants for preservation that failed to produce the hoped for response from the developer, 18-24 King Street East, along Gore Park, was designated as a heritage property. The move stalled the development proposal that exists on the building.
So, the property was spared from the wrecking ball. At least, for now.
The developer – David Blanchard of Wilson Blanchard – submitted a notice of objection to the heritage designation. The case is now in the hands of the province’s Conservation Review Board. To the developers, the Gore Park buildings now sitting vacant are in a prime location for office, commercial or even residential development.
The debate is the latest in series of debates that have occurred over preservation and development in the city.
The city seems to always face a choice and a debate when a development proposal comes for the core: Preserve the school board building or allow it to be demolished to make way for the new McMaster medical school? Try to preserve James St. Baptist Church or allow it to be demolished? Preserve the Gore facade or allow new development in the core?
Is heritage preservation holding Hamilton back? Or is preserving the city's historic buildings the best way to ensure downtown is revitalized? Who should pay for the extra costs of preservation?
Join CBC Hamilton for a live audio chat to tackle those questions with guest Michael Adkins Wednesday at 12:15 p.m.
Adkins, a native Hamiltonian, has sat on the city’s heritage committee for the past eight years. He’s the chair of heritage permit subcommittee and pending an election, could also chair the policy subcommittee.
And he owns a heritage home himself.
Have a question for Michael? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @CBCHamilton or join us live online Wednesday at 12:15 p.m.