London councillors unanimously vote to expropriate 100 Stanley St.

Nan Finlayson, owner of 100 Stanley Street, rallying alongside supporters.
Nan Finlayson, owner of 100 Stanley Street, rallying alongside supporters. 980 CFPL

London city council has voted unanimously to expropriate 100 Stanley St., officially bringing an end to local resident Nan Finlayson’s fight to keep her heritage home.

Council made the decision to expropriate the land, along with six other nearby properties, on Tuesday.

During the council meeting, Coun. Stephen Turner referred to the decision as “heart-wrenching” but one that was necessary for road widening and rail bridge repair on Wharncliffe Road South.

“It’s not an easy decision for any of us to make, especially when that decision has a face to it,” Turner said, alluding to Finlayson, who was in attendance at council chambers along with a handful of supporters.

They held signs urging councillors to reconsider in a last-ditch effort to save the home. Finlayson has insisted on staying at 100 Stanley St. even after receiving an offer from the city to move it across the street.

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The city says the property on which the house currently sits is needed for the road-widening project of Wharncliffe Road.

“Expropriation is probably the most extreme exercise of power within a municipal government’s purview,” said Turner.

“I’m not a big supporter of road widenings. I think road widenings created induced demands that will fill up pretty quickly once we widen them, but I see Wharncliffe Road as a different circumstance.”

Roughly 40 community members showed up to 100 Stanley St. on Saturday in support of Finlayson’s fight to keep her heritage home, where she has lived for roughly three decades.

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Turner says it can be challenging for councillors to “balance the local interests and citywide interests” when making decisions that will have a significant impact on individuals.

“It’s addressing a fairly significant bottleneck in our transportation system,” said Turner. “This is kind of a linchpin in our ability to be able to transport our public transit system.”

During the meeting, Turner says he asked staff to explore all other possibilities in an effort to avoid this outcome but insisted they were out of options.

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“Our jobs as councillors is to be satisfied that all avenues were exhausted prior to arriving at this point tonight, and I am,” he said. “I’m satisfied they have been explored, but unfortunately, we’re still in this circumstance and we have to make a decision.”

Along with 100 Stanley St., six other nearby properties were expropriated to clear room for the future projects on Wharncliffe Road.

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Tuesday night brought a different fate for a dilapidated barn in Byron.

Councillors voted to give heritage distinction to the red barn at 247 Halls Mill Rd., saving it from the wrecking ball.

Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen said it was a reasonable request from the owners of what he refers to as the “red barn of Byron.”

“These homeowners are looking for a little more time, and I think we should work with them and grant the time,” he said.

The barn was originally slated for demolition in 2008, but council’s decision on Tuesday night saves the structure from the wrecking ball.

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