Rural heritage

Dear Editor:

Where are the stewards of Centre Wellington’s historical assets?

At its June 17 Committee of the Whole meeting, council rejected the advice of its own Heritage Committee and municipal officials to designate the historical farmhouse at 7535 Sixth Line in former Nichol Township.

Without heritage designation, the property owner will demolish this 122-year-old farmhouse – a 2.5 storey Queen Anne style yellow brick house built for one of the early Irish immigrants in the township.

This historical house met all three of the criteria for designation under the Heritage Act, when only one is required to approve designation. The report prepared by Centre Wellington’s senior planner indicated that “township staff and the heritage committee members visited the property and the interior of the building.

“There are some structural deficiencies that need to be addressed, as well as mould concerns related to water infiltration. However, these are typical issues in a house of this age and are quite easily repaired and addressed. From the site visit, it appeared that the dwelling was in good condition.”

The report concludes that…“It is staff’s opinion that this property warrants designation as a significant intact early farmstead and cultural heritage landscape in order to protect the buildings from imminent demolition.”

Even with this information, council failed to use the basic municipal tools available to them to protect this historical asset for future generations.

Demolition of a heritage asset in 2019 is wasteful and unnecessary. Doesn’t a rural historical house deserve the same preservation and protection as one in an urban setting? Does rural heritage just not matter?

Municipal bylaws and planning policies exist to protect our land, air, water, roads, buildings, rural landscape and historical assets. Tax revenue can never rebuild historical community assets lost to the wrecking ball.

Rural and urban citizens have the right to expect responsible stewardship of historical assets by municipal representatives.

I am a great grand daughter of a Nichol Township Irish immigrant.

Irene Sullivan,