This post is the second in a series in which we reached out to municipal candidates to ask their heritage platform. Responses will be posted in the order received.
The second to respond was Chris Gibb, Candidate for Amherstburg’s Deputy Mayor. The responses are in the candidate’s own words only slightly edited in a way that doesn’t in any way change what they said.
The topic of heritage and adaptive reuse is something that is “near and dear” to my heart as I am currently a board member of the Marsh Historical Collection and I am very aware of Amherstburg’s rich history.
I’m going to do my best to answer your question, but please keep in mind, I’m not a heritage expert so I know I have a lot to learn.
I feel that preserving the buildings in and around Amherstburg’s unique downtown core is a responsibility we all share.
Currently, I feel we do a pretty good job protecting our heritage buildings as there is always a fine line between preserving the look and feel of our heritage properties but also recognizing the inherent right of property owners to determine the best use of their buildings.
Where I feel we need to improve is in the situations where a property owner requests the demolition of heritage property. In the situations where a property is deemed “salvageable” by the heritage committee or town building department, I don’t think a demolition permit should be made available.
In the rare situations where the building is deemed as “beyond repair” (such as the property at 109 Gore St) I would like to see the person requesting the demolition permit to show what they will be replacing the property with. Does the building they intend to build fit the look of the surrounding homes? Does the proposed new constructions fit the look of Amhersburg’s core? These are the type of questions council needs to ask before taking the rare step of allowing a heritage building to be demolished and replaced.
I am not a big fan of the current situation where (usually) a developer purchases two (or three) properties in a heritage district and then replaces them with a building that does not fit the aesthetic of the neighbouring homes.
To reach out to Chris Gibb, you can find him on his Website or reach out to him on Facebook. Picture of Chris Gibb from his campaign Facebook page.