|Debbie Chapman, Frank Etherington, David Kuhn, Sandy MacFarlane, Ian Schill, Graham Yeates|
|What do you see as the value to the community of preservation of heritage properties? |
|DC: The preservation of heritage properties is what gives us historical grounding. It is a way to honour architectural beauty. It is also a way to reduce our ecological footprint. |
|FE: Heritage buildings and neighbourhoods are the heart and soul of communities, providing beauty, depth and character to our cities.|
|DK: Doing whatever we can in order to maintain our historic buildings is a must. Preservation is key in making sure that we remember where we came from as well as just how far we have come. |
|SM: There is great value to preserving our heritage buildings. It gives the community character and connects us to the past. They provide great tools to students of architecture and history|
|GY: I strongly believe that Kitchener needs to preserve its significant past. Kitchener is home to unique architecture and history, and these both need to be protected. Heritage properties enrich the community both culturally and aesthetically. |
|What have you done to save built heritage in your municipality?|
|DC: I have bought a 1925 home because of its heritage value and while it is not designed as a heritage home it has maintained its original fixtures and structure. I also worked with community members to preserve a local school (St. John’s on Strange St.).|
|FE: As a journalist I have written numerous opinion columns about why heritage properties should be protected and saved.|
I have also been very critical of Kitchener council's disappointing heritage-preservation record.
As a resident living in the Victoria Park heritage area, I have formed part of several delegations to council protesting recent moves to demolish heritage buildings.
|DK: As a private citizen, I have always been supportive of maintaining our heritage lands and property while also recognizing the need to adapt in order to facilitate positive change and growth for the future.|
|SM: In the past I have written letters to local newspapers and also attended City Hall meetings on development in support of preserving Heritage sites and trying to designate others.|
|GY: I have served on Kitchener’s heritage advisory committee and have advocated the collective preservation of our communal past. We had some success stories, like the Kaufman Lofts, but we also have real failings, like the Forsyth building. Sadly, too often our advice fell on deaf ears. I have also participated directly in heritage conservation by joining with other like-minded citizens to protest the destruction of local landmarks, such as the Lang Tannery support buildings.|
|How will you balance development pressures against the need to preserve archeological and heritage structures and neighbourhoods?|
|DC: I realize this is a very difficult thing to do. In Kitchener we have the recent experience with the Lang/Tannery buildings that were recently demolished after a very well prepared defence to save the buildings. Barr Castle is another local example where a developer has been granted permission to tear down a building in its entirety. In the Lang/Tannery case I think city council failed us by not agreeing to do its own Heritage Impact Assessment of the grounds before agreeing to the demolition.|
|FE: Despite development pressures, as Ward 9 councillor I would be vigilant and do everything possible to preserve and protect archeological/heritage structures and neighbourhoods.|
|DK: As a member of city council I would make it a priority to support re-development of historical land and property for new uses, providing of course that the developers commit to the preservation of historical elements; as well as consultations from organizations and committees like the Architectural Conservancy and Heritage Kitchener.|
|SM: As councillor I would have the backbone to stand up for what I believe in and to voice the concerns of the residents of the city. Development is going to occur and it should but we need to explore other alternatives to tearing down buildings and putting up parking lots.|
|GY: I think balance can be achieved through a stronger definition of heritage. A building or neighbourhood must be more than merely old to truly qualify for heritage status; it must also be culturally significant. It must be a building that without which the community would be lessened. The combination of these two elements will guide us to which structures should be saved and protected.|
|Would you encourage the adaptive reuse of your community’s built heritage when its traditional uses are no longer feasible?|
|DC: Where the original use of the building is no longer feasible, I would support the adaptive reuse of the building. St. John’s school will continue to be a school after it is renovated and many of the original part of the school will be preserved. The Victoria Housing building on Joseph Street is a great example of adaptive reuse of a building. It preserves the character, while giving it a different use.|
|FE: Yes. Retrofit and preserve the buildings. More the better.|
|DK: Yes I would (see development pressures question).|
|SM: Yes, reuse is a great alternative|
|GY: The responsible reuse of heritage properties is crucial to the health of our community. The cultural, economic, and environmental impact of reusing heritage buildings cannot be overstated. I have no interest in seeing buildings of character replaced by cookie-cutter structures. If manufacturing plants can be re-developed into lofts, then there’s no reason that churches and schools cannot become offices.|
|Under the Ontario Heritage Act, listing and protecting heritage properties is a municipal responsibility, not a private responsibility. A heritage property may be designated by the municipality over an owner’s objection, and the owner may appeal the designation to the Conservation Review Board (for individual property designations) or the Ontario Municipal Board (for heritage district designations).|
Do you agree that a municipal council should act if necessary to designate heritage property even where the owner disagrees?
|DC: I think the only way we will be able to preserve heritage designated properties is if the government establishes and enforces the guidelines. There is always room to negotiate, but assuming the building passes the HIA assessment, then the owners should be required to act in accordance with the guidelines.|
|DK: I take the position that before the city acts that council should work at talking with the owners of any private land or property first. We must first to try and come to an understanding which is agreeable to all parties before stepping in and making any decisions. In my opinion, while it is important to preserve history, I want to see the city cooperate with owners and not just step over them.|
|GY: Yes. That would be the entire point of the Ontario Heritage Act. If property owners could always be counted on to nurture and respect the heritage they own, then the act would not be needed. It’s unfortunate, but the needs of the community must be weighed over the desires of one individual.|
|Given the large amount of public support for heritage preservation, will you support funding, laws, policy, and appointments that encourage it? Please list any specific initiatives that you would propose.|
|DC: Yes, I will support laws and policies that support heritage preservation. I would like to ensure greater public consultation when controversy arises. People can be very passionate about heritage preservation and they should be heard before decisions are made.|
|FE: Nowhere near enough money is available to owners of heritage properties under Kitchener's heritage-grant programs.|
Meaningful restoration of those buildings can be very expensive and any municipality that cares about maintaining its historic buildings should be willing to cover more of the cost.
|DK: In terms of funding, and this would have to be conditional to the situation, I would support public funding to maintain publically held land and property while at the same time looking to offset the cost of maintaining said property. This could be done through working with local organizations as well as promoting fundraisers to raise the monies needed.|
Any changes to laws should consider that we still have to deal with public pressures as well as with individual land owners. As I have said, I believe it is important that we do not just make decisions without first talking with all parties involved.
Appointing people who are dedicated to historical preservation as well as people who see the need to balance that with the need for growth is just common sense when you have a city like Kitchener with so much history but also growing needs.
|GY: I support the enforcement of the Ontario Heritage Act. I find the current tactic of allowing heritage buildings to fall into complete disrepair abhorred. This is made even worse when the neglectful property owner is the city itself. While not always convenient, council has a responsibility to this community that cannot be ignored. Heritage conservation ought to be a priority in the future development of Kitchener. Change on Kitchener’s City Council will allow for more responsive action in this area.|
|Will you support financial assistance and advice to those who seek to conserve and restore their heritage properties?|
|DC: I would support incentive programs for heritage property owners. The monies would be designated to specific projects such as brick conservation, electrical upgrades and energy conservation upgrades.|
|DK: As I have said, in terms of direct financial assistance, this would depend on the situation. Each project is different from the next, and there are varying costs associated with each individual situation. I do support looking at the individual cases and then deciding as a council (after consulting the necessary people and groups) what the city will commit to doing|
|GY: Yes, I would support reasonable financial assistance and advice for those who seek to conserve and restore their heritage properties. I believe the city should work with all stakeholders to create a beautiful and functional cityscape.|