New hope for Gore Park buildings slated for demolition

A Thursday meeting between Wilson-Blanchard and city staff has left some councillors with hope moving forward.

Councillors promise a 'positive way forward'

Property management company Wilson Blanchard has applied to demolish several buildings lining the south side of Gore Park. A Thursday meeting between Blanchard and city staff has left some councilors with an air of positivity moving forward. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

A meeting between city staff and David Blanchard hints there could be hope for a plan surrounding a row of buildings set for demolition at Gore Park after all.

Blanchard's property management company Wilson-Blanchard applied for a demolition permit for 18 to 22, 24 and 28 King St. E. on Dec. 4. This move angered people living downtown. Some felt he was doing so without a concrete plan as to what would be built to replace the historic buildings.

On Thursday, Blanchard and his architect met with Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr, chairperson of the Heritage Committee, Ward 1 Coun. Brian McHattie and Urban Renewal and Planning and Economic Development staff.

After the meeting, McHattie told CBC Hamilton that during the city council planning committee meeting on Tuesday, he expects Farr to put forth a motion that he considers a "positive way forward". McHattie previously likened the proposed demolition to a "war on heritage buildings in Hamilton."

"At minimum, this will buy time so a proper conversation can take place," McHattie said. "And we won't have the hatchet of development bearing down on us."

Farr: 'A great meeting'

Farr remained tight-lipped as to the specifics of the motion, and said only that details would "emerge on Tuesday."

"It was, as anticipated, a great meeting," Farr said.

When reached by phone on Thursday, Blanchard told CBC Hamilton he didn't want to discuss plans for the site until after Tuesday's meeting.

"And even if a demolition permit is issued, it doesn't matter in the sense that Mr. Blanchard owns that permit and can withdraw it if he wishes," McHattie said.

City spokesperson Debbie Spence says Blanchard has applied for the demolition permit, but it has not yet been approved.

"We sent a letter on Wednesday to let them know there were a couple of details that we needed before we could issue it," Spence said. "Depending on how long that takes, that will dictate when it will be issued."

Spence described the information the city needed as "small details."

McHattie says that he expects Farr's motion to pass at council, as his colleagues tend to side with the ward councilor on issues like these.

"I just hope my colleagues will support it."


Adam Carter


Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Toronto home. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.