The fate of the crumbling Magee house at 1116 Wellington St. W. is in the hands of the planning committee as the built heritage subcommittee approved its demolition on Thursday.
Committee members voiced their frustration with the file at the meeting, citing the demolition is not so much due to the aging building but to the neglect on the part of the owner to maintain the heritage-designated property.
“I heard recently an interview with the owner and he said the building was like an elderly person who’d suffered a stroke,” said committee member Sandy Smallwood. “After having read the report and visited the building it seems to me that the building didn’t have a stroke, it was murdered.”
The demolition of the building requires a site plan which includes four important caveats. The first is there must be a landscape plan for the new property.
Second is that stone from the demolished building must be incorporated into the new design. According to city staff, though there is no specific number when it comes to the amount of stone that must be used. The spirit of the condition is that a “substantial” amount should be incorporated but the city is not in the business of designing buildings on behalf of owners.
The third is that there must be some sort of commemoration stating the history of the location. In most cases, this would be a plaque.
The final requirement is that the building be demolished no later than Nov. 15 in order to avoid any further catastrophic damage that could possibly occur in the winter.
Coun. Jeff Leiper, who represents the ward in which the house is situated, voiced his frustration as well and urged the new council to consider how they can help owners of heritage properties understand the responsibilities they have to maintain them.
“Hintonburg is changing rapidly,” said Leiper. “This building is a touchstone to our past. It’s gone now and I do hope in the next term of council we can take a look at how to avoid these situations.”
The motion was carried unanimously and will be brought before the planning committee on Oct. 9.