'Very disappointed': Expropriation plan inches closer on 75-year-old's heritage home
Committee votes 5-1 to acquire house to make way for plan to widen Wharncliffe Road South
A 75-year-old Londoner who's lived at the corner of Stanley Street and Wharncliffe Road South for 30 years says she's disappointed by a city committee vote to move ahead with plans to expropriate her house.
"It's a delightful home and it has been a huge part of my life," Nan Finlayson said Tuesday.
She made the comments in an interview with CBC News, hours after the city's corporate services committee voted 5-1 (Arielle Kayabaga opposed) to move ahead with a handful of expropriations on Wharncliffe Road South near the CN rail bridge.
The city's move to expropriate all or part of 12 properties in the area is part of a plan to replace the rail bridge and widen Wharncliffe Road to improve traffic flow at what has become a notorious traffic choke point.
The planned upgrades will add a northbound lane on Wharncliffe and new turn lanes at the corner of Horton Street. The entire project, including the bridge replacement, comes with a $39-million price tag.
A report presented to committee says of the 12 properties the city needs, five are full buyouts, and one a permanent easement, with the rest requiring partial acquisition. The city has only officially acquired one of the properties it needs and is close to deals with two others.
A city report says the plan is to get all the needed properties acquired by "early 2020" to keep the project on schedule.
In Finlayson's case, the city staff have looked into the option of moving her house across the street to a lot at the corner of Evergreen Avenue and Wharncliffe, kitty corner to her current location.
Lifting the house comes with a $500,000 price tag but it's not an option Finlayson wants to consider.
Instead, she plans to keep fighting.
"I haven't been served with a notice of expropriation, so I will just carry on," she said.
An avid gardener, Finlayson says she doesn't want to see her 121-year-old home knocked down to speed the flow of traffic.
"I read somewhere don't worry about a crisis until it happens," she said. "I'm not about to walk away or give up. I will continue to stand as long as I can."