Heritage & Dominion Foundry Buildings will not be demolished Anymore!

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These heritage buildings located in Toronto's west don lands were awaiting demolition but it has been called off.

WHAT DID THE AUTHORITIES SAY?

An agreement was made between the City of Toronto and the government of Ontario. The province has vowed to preserve the building citing it as a 'heritage building' and additionally provide affordable housing via the City’s Open Door Affordable Housing Program and HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan.

Mayor John Tory said in a statement that the province is committed to conserving the cultural heritage value of the property keeping in mind the community sentiments.

THE GOVERNMENT'S ROLE IN THE POTENTIAL SELLING OF THE PROPERTY 

The Ford government agreed to a private deal last September to sell the provincially owned land that is the crux of the dispute. The government has refused to disclose the identity of the prospective buyer or the selling price at which was sold. Ongoing protests have temporarily halted the demolition and its crew that was hired by the province.

PUBLIC REACTION

A recent report by UrbanToronto stated that demolition of old buildings that had started back in January of this year was readily stopped after notable public dissent.The public outcry led to a court order that stopped the demolition temporarily.

The court application was drafted and submitted by St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association with the city as a fellow party to the said application and to participate in the subsequent court proceedings.

WHAT DOES THE HIA HAVE TO SAY?

The Province’s Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) says that the building has had an everlasting heritage value for it is the last industrial complex that is still associated with the railroad expansion of Don Lands between 1910 and 1960.

REDEVELOPMENT OR MAINTAINING HERITAGE?

The CORE Architects in the HIA produced conceptual renderings that showcase how the heritage properties could be integrated into the elements of the new building. It seems like those are housing and public gathering spaces and new amenities.

CAN THE PROPERTY BE PRIVATELY OWNED?

If the properties were ever made to become privately owned, the city has to designate them under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act or must have the owner agree to a Heritage Easement Agreement.

Supporters of the Foundry believe that the key issue in the court next month will be whether the province violated the Ontario Heritage Act and the 2010 subdivision agreement between the city and province when it started the demolition of the Foundry buildings. The ministry insists that the "heritage element" will be kept in mind and respected when designing any new buildings on the site. Future purchasers of the property have to respect the redevelopment plans effective without harming the cultural significance of the property.

If in the future, someone wants to privately own the properties on-site, the city has to list them under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act or have the owner sign an agreement with the Heritage Easement Agreement.

Image Source: CORE Architects Photo Credit: livabl

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