Meeting Notes: October

Excellent meeting last night with a number of new people in attendance, including two from Mount Pleasant who have been inspired to start a heritage group in their neighbourhood — that’s what we want to see all over the City!  There were a number of interesting items on the agenda:

  • We started with an announcement of a heritage/history walk:  Maurice Guibord will be conducting a tour of the area west of Commercial Drive on Saturday 9th November.  Meet at Mosaic Park (Charles & McLean) at 10:00am sharp.  Suggested donation is $10.  Maurice — an excellent and experienced tour leader — has found some fascinating material from that area and the tour is bound to be of interest.
  • The wonderful Brookhouse at 1872 Parker seems doomed.  Subject to a few conditions, the City has informed the owner — Ernie Ho of FuHo Design — that his permit to demolish and rebuild will be issued in early November. They have completely disregarded the letters sent from GHG and GWAC. Only direct pressure on the owner can save it now.
  • As a corollary to the 1872 Parker disaster, it was suggested that both GHG and GWAC write to City Council regarding the Heritage Revitalization Agreement process that seems to be so arduous that it has scared more than one owner away from saving a valuable property.
  • We also discussed the issue of the Astorino’s building at Commercial & Venables which is part of the ongoing Community Plan (CP) issues.  It was confirmed that City Council amended the Jackson Report to allow the potential development of this site (along with the Kettle, Ace of Suedes and the City parking lot) to continue even during the CP process but with “significant reduction in proposed height).  We now await the developer’s proposal.  In the meanwhile, we want to push for a Statement of Significance on the building as a folk-cultural artifact (it was agreed the building itself was not of the highest class) and as a performance space (especially as Britannia is now using it as such).
  • The 2014 Centenary House signs campaign is now officially underway.  Penny and Maria will be organizing selection tours to create a list of potential houses.
  • We also discussed the “permanent plaque” program with reference to the fading that has been noticed on the Shelly’s Sign wall.  Lance will investigate the issue and report back to us.
  • Jak agreed to write a brief guide to adding material to our wiki. This will appear on this website in the next few days.
  • Bruce reported on the Ridge Bowling Pin which he has been trying to secure for the Grandview Lanes roof.  It has been purchased by Yusuf Wosk for $5,000 and is apparently stored in his backyard. Maybe we can still get it if he gets bored with it.
  • It was noted that there is an Opne House for the Trout Lake Masterplan on Saturday. Bruce Macdonald will be giving a heritage overview at the Community Centre that morning.
  • Finally, we thoroughly enjoyed part 4 of Eric’s marvelous series “Mechanicals and Materials“.  Tonight’s was about the Hazards of Old Houses.  He talked about the uses and problems with lead, asbestos, mercury, leaking underground storage tanks (apparently known as LUST to specialists), and other chemicals. Highly informative and entertaining as always.  Thanks Eric!

A fun and entertaining evening.

Monthly meeting, October 17th, 7 pm

Our usual meeting, in the Britannia boardroom from 7 till 9, will consider the following topics:

• Candidates for our 2014 “Century Signs” campaign – dividing the neighbourhood into sections, walking and evaluating, the timing for removing the 2013 signs and rolling out the 2014 houses

• the permanent plaques: update on the proposal to offer heritage plaques, for a fee, to interested homeowners, which leads to….

• light-proofing the Shelly’s plaque – the one we installed in June has faded quite badly. We will discuss options on how to shield it from UV and consider alternatives to the kind of plaque we used there

•Astorino’s and the Boffo project at Venables and Commercial: the old Astorino’s dance hall space is potentially a victim of the redevelopment process that Boffo, with support from the Kettle society, is trying to fast-track past the community plan process. Is it worth trying to put together a Statement of Significance or mount some other intervention?

•1872 Parker at Victoria Drive: the Queen Anne-style Woodhouse house (see the post below) is about to be demolished, the current owner having no interest in retaining it. As the building is not on the heritage registry, there appears to be little that staff can do to delay the owner’s development application. The only requirement the city is putting on the owner is the retention and repair of the granite wall. Is there value in a community campaign or will this just become a “teachable moment”?

•Danielle and Alyssa from Mount Pleasant are hoping to attend as part of their effort to form their own heritage group like ours.

• And, there may be a Powerpoint presentation on some aspect of our history and heritage.

Hope to see you there.