Prince Edward County residents fight to save heritage homes slated to be demolished

Click to play video: 'Fighting to save some heritage homes in Prince Edward County' Fighting to save some heritage homes in Prince Edward County
WATCH: Some Prince Edward County residents rally around heritage homes at Sandbanks Provincial Park – Aug 27, 2021

A pair of historically-significant buildings located in Sandbanks Provincial Park could be demolished as early as Sept. 1.

A preservation group is currently trying to stop the demo of what they say are pieces of Prince Edward County’s past.

Whether it’s the MacDonald House or the Hyatt House, both have seen better days.

For Peter Lockyer, a historian and concerned Prince Edward County resident, it’s about the area’s heritage and for some it’s that history that needs to be saved.

“My vision of Prince Edward County, my hometown is that we would be a enduring rural portrait of rural Ontario. That we would keep all these things, as many as we can to tell the story of Prince Edward County but also of Canada,” said Lockyer.

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Lockyer is a member of “Save Heritage Sandbanks Homes”.

The local historian and documentarian says both buildings deserve to be saved and re-purposed. The Hyatt House was built in 1869.

“This house which is a brick house still standing despite all the neglect over the decades is a sound pioneer house,” said Lockyer.

“What is also important about it is that it was an early example of the resort business, because the Hyatts and the MacDonalds were both in the resort business. So they were pioneers in that business that became so much for Prince Edward County.”

The MacDonald House was constructed in the late 1870s.

“The house is basically solid. It may not look that way but we’ve had heritage architects look at it and they say this house can be re-purposed and brought back,” said Lockyer

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Global News contacted to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks Ontario, the government body that oversees Sandbanks and other provincial parks.

They issued a statement about the buildings. It reads in part:

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“Proposals by local individuals with an interest in the two houses were carefully reviewed and considered by the ministry. Detailed heritage assessments recommend tearing down the buildings as soon as possible in the interest of public health and safety.

“They are no longer safe to maintain or access. The ministry has since amended the park management plan for Sandbanks Provincial Park to allow for the demolition of the two buildings after consultation with the Indigenous community and the public.”

Lockyer thinks saving the two historic homes is still a worthwhile endeavour.

“I get it, it’s about money and where does the money come from? We think the money can come from private investors and the community.” said Lockyer

Lockyer and his group are hoping that the demolition won’t go ahead, but it’s not clear what, if anything, can be done in the remaining few days to reverse the decision to tear down the pieces of Prince Edward County heritage.

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