Kingston historian looks to save ‘heritage’ home

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The owner of a house that was built in the 1890's and was home to several notable Kingstonians has applied to demolish the structure and build student housing – Feb 20, 2019

Steps away from Queen’s University sits a home built in the late 19th century, and recently, it has been the talk of the neighbourhood after a large re-zoning sign was posted in the middle of the front lawn.

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Over the past week, neighbouring homeowners have voiced their concerns regarding the potential of new development on the property after the owner of 218 Albert St. applied for a permit, asking to demolish the single-family home in order to build student housing.

The uproar has caught the attention of city staff and local historians who believe the home is a heritage site.

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Carl Bray is an associate professor at Queen’s and is also a consultant for Bray Heritage, a heritage consulting firm specializing in the assessment, planning, and development of cultural heritage resources. He says the home was built by a local carpenter and has a specific style that is unique to the Kingston area and that the home also has historical associate value.

According to Bray and Kingston City Councillor Jim Neill, there is a list of notable Kingstonians who resided in the home over the past 100 years such as famed political scientist John Meisel and patron of the arts Agnes Etherington.

Because of this, Neill believes the home is not only a historic structure but a heritage site, because of the prominent people who lived in it.

“I brought forward a motion to council asking that they consider fast-tracking the heritage committee’s process of deeming it a heritage site or not,” said Neill.

If 218 Albert St. receives a heritage designation it cannot be demolished, therefore the student housing project would be cancelled.

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Neill told Global news that his motion did pass unanimously and the matter will now be sent to the heritage committee for them to make a decision whether the property meets the heritage designation criteria, before coming back to city council for final approval.