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Court orders developer to make crumbling historic barn ‘safe’

Group including Mattamy Homes given extension to repair building or receive city council’s approval to demolish it; council seeks heritage designation and protection
A wall collapsed from this circa. 1850 stone barn at 2187 Gordon St.

The owners of a south end property, including Mattamy Homes, must comply with an order to repair a crumbling, historic barn or receive approval to demolish it, ruled the Superior Court of Justice.

They did, however, get more time to comply with a city-issued property standards bylaw order made last summer for 2187 Gordon St., just south of Springfield Golf and Country Club.

As a result of complications stemming from city council’s efforts to have the barn designated for preservation under the Ontario Heritage Act, Justice Faisal Mirza agreed to move the deadline to the end of August.

In doing so, Mirza criticized the developer for failing to take action to preserve the 170-year-old building known as the Kidd barn.

“By granting the extension, this should not be seen … as condoning their conduct not to take steps to obtain the necessary solution to remedy the  deficiencies as required for the past several years,” the judge wrote. “This delay and inaction cannot continue. (The developer) must take reasonable steps to ensure safety and seek  authorizations to further safety as required while the process runs its course.”

The previous deadline for the work order was Dec. 31, which was the latest in a series of extensions stemming from the initial order in 2021. 

“The appellant has still not completed the necessary work set out in these orders,” Mirza’s decision states. “As a result, the Kidd Barn has further deteriorated.”

During a previous appeal, heard by the city’s property standards committee in September, city inspector Stephen Jamieson said concerns about the state of the building were first raised with the owner in 2018.

One of the barn’s stone walls partially collapsed last summer, leading to the renewed work order.

In calling for the latest extension, a lawyer for the developer told the court consultants advised repair work was “not safe to complete” given the state of the building. 

That same lawyer previously stated it would cost more than $400,000 to bring the barn up to minimum standards, while the cost to demolish and dispose of the materials is about $25,000.

Mirza points out the developer’s consultant has been providing advice on the building’s structural condition since 2018, but that work wasn’t completed.


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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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