A building developer is ready to begin the phased demolition of a landmark church in downtown Peterborough as time has run out on efforts to save the 160-year-old structure.
St. Paul’s Presbyterian church has been on borrowed time since major structural deficiencies were found in the building.
There were calls to save the building.
Developer Kevin Macdonald says that when his company purchased the property, it hoped it could re-purpose the building. Yet subsequent study showed that needed repairs to the foundation, roof and walls would cost too much.
Many residents are wondering why the property does not have a heritage designation. It was on a list of city heritage structures, but the city’s heritage resource coordinator says it was removed to address the question of heritage preservation in a broader sense.
“The original list included this building but council wanted to limit the scope of what they were listing on the heritage register as part of the official plan review process,” Erik Hansen says.
Anne Farquarson, a former city councillor and a former member of the St Paul’s congregation, says the church is too important to the history of the city to drop it from the city’s list of heritage structures. She says the church needs to go back on that list.
“This present council had a chance last month. It didn’t end up proceeding for whatever reason, so hopefully, it will happen soon to replace those 50 buildings in the downtown. So our 50 most precious heritage downtown buildings are standing unprotected at this moment,” Farquarson said.
The developer says the demolition will be a phased process to avoid disrupting a neighbouring men’s shelter.