Manotick community fears history could be in danger

Residents in the south Ottawa suburb of Manotick fear some historical buildings in the Dickinson Square area could be sold to developers who might change the area.

Residents of a south Ottawa suburb are concerned four municipally-owned buildings in the town's historical sector will be sold off to developers who might change the area.

The City of Ottawa owns brick and stone buildings in Manotick's Dickinson Square and the municipality is looking to sell or lease them.

The square is also home to a museum and to several community organizations that rent the space from the city. Now those organizations are concerned the city wants to make money off the well-known area.

"I would not like to see a developer of heritage properties convert it into a humongous tourist attraction," said Klaus Beltzner, the head of the Manotick Community Association.

"That would take over the programming and activities and control of the square," said Beltzner.

Beltzner's concerns stem from a battle in 2007 when the community association purchased Watson's Mill to stop private ownership. There was also a controversial proposal from Minto Developments in 2008 to develop rural Manotick.

Beltzner said the community now hopes to purchase the four buildings, as well.

"It's the heart of Manotick. It's what Manotick is all about. It's a piece of heritage and the life-blood, so it's very important to the community," he said.

Coun. Scott Moffatt, who is responsible for the ward including Manotick, said the city is looking for a buyer who is sensitive to Manotick's history.