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Council rejects developer’s request to demo heritage buildings

Demolition permit sought as council seeks heritage protection, which developer is appealing
A wall collapsed from this circa. 1850 stone barn at 2187 Gordon St.

The ongoing saga of an historic south end property continues, with city council rejecting a developer’s latest request for permission to tear down buildings it has failed to maintain despite orders to do so.

Without discussion, on Tuesday evening council unanimously backed a staff recommendation to deny a demolition permit for 2187 Gordon St. S. which is owned by a development group that includes Mattamy Homes.

That site is home to two buildings with ties to the early days of Guelph’s settlement: One is a stone barn built around 1850, known as the James Kidd barn, and the other is a farmhouse constructed in 1907 and known as the Blair farmhouse.

The developer’s argument in favour of demolition remains largely unchanged from previous submissions to the city and courts – it would cost too much to repair and keeping it in place would lessen the number of homes it can build there.

“It will cost upwards of $1.5 million to restore the barn and such restoration will not prevent further deterioration. Furthermore, restoration will result in the lost opportunity of building several hundred much-needed residential units,” states a letter from the developer’s lawyer to city officials. “When these costs are considered against retention of the dwelling and the barn in situ, it is clear that partial relocation and commemoration of the barn and relocation of the dwelling is the appropriate and measured option.”

The letter goes on to suggest the development would have between 200 and 600 fewer units, though the developer previously used the figure of 200 to 500 units. The developer also previously claimed it would cost $400,000 to bring the barn up to minimum standards, while the cost to demolish and dispose of the materials is about $25,000.

This site has a history of property standards orders issued by the city regarding building deterioration not being fully acted upon by the owner, unsuccessful appeals and a court challenge.

In March, the developer filed an appeal with the Ontario Land Tribunal asking it to overturn city council’s February decision to designate 2187 Gordon St. S. for protection under the Ontario Heritage Act.

No date has been set for that hearing.


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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