Wilson Farmhouse on Simmonds Drive

A resident’s perspective.

I just read the article in the Guelph Tribune about the farmhouse on Simmonds Drive. I live on Simmonds Drive and I am quite disappointed in the ‘neighbourhood’ opinion that is expressed in the article. As a person that lives in this neighbourhood, on this road, I don’t think that the farmhouse is ‘a blight’ at all and like you I am very saddened to hear that the city staff are recommending demolition. I think that this is very disappointing that they cannot come up with another viable option. I don’t think that it should be a private home in the middle of the park, but I agree with you that the city set this farmhouse up for failure because of its location. Why design the neighbourhood and park like it is without including the farmhouse in a plan for a public facility? Why didn’t the city think of this before recommending the cheapest option of demolition? Why isn’t a neighbourhood community centre and demonstration home for residential energy efficiency being considered as an option and the best option!

Who in my neighbourhood would not want a community centre?? REEP house in Kitchener is an excellent example of a house being used as a public teaching tool on energy efficiency. Why doesn’t Guelph consider a model like this that can educate residents and school children? Perhaps there is a daycare centre or independent library/market store that would like to move in and service the neighbourhood? There is little infrastructure for this growing neighbourhood in this end of town – I guess we are all expected to shop at Walmart? (I digress).

I hope you can share my opinion as opposing the quite vocal one from the neighbourhood that is talked about in the article, I am that other ‘segment’ that is supportive of retention options. ML

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4 Comments

Filed under Wilson Farm Park

4 responses to “Wilson Farmhouse on Simmonds Drive

  1. Thanks for voicing your opinion, ML. I am a homeowner whose house faces onto Wilson Farm Park. Having spent some time up close and personal with the house in question (mostly because I fear for my childrens’ safety when they approach it!! (wasps, nails, crumbling bricks, glass, dangerous wood slivers, etc, etc, etc)) it becomes quite apparent that this house is a) not altogether unique, b) in a sorry state, and c) difficult to ‘reclaim’.
    As is evidenced from the full staff report (it’s available on the city website), the city has indeed done its best to consider other options. In fact, it has gone above and beyond the call of duty in this respect, but quite frankly because it is the way it is, the cost to make it a public building would be astronomical. Given code requirements for accessibility, the only viable option would be to consider it for private/community use. There have been a number of interested parties to consider it (all great options), but when they began to count the cost to put this house into service, they and their financiers ran the other way.
    A respected local renovator has looked at the house as his ‘dream job’. I asked why he wouldn’t consider it, and he burst out laughing. “If I win the lottery, I could, but I’d have to spend it all in one place!” In short, the city is wasting its time, resources, and money trying to sell this house.
    It’s time to remove this hazardous space, and to acknowledge that while some dreams can come true, there are many other dreams in the very closeby that preserve our link to our past. The Wilson Farmhouse needs to find its way into a fiscally responsible future, and that is dismantled and cataloged into memory – where it can be respected, and where the land parcel in the park can remain as a section of mature trees and tranquility perched on a hill for all to enjoy.
    KH

  2. R. Mast

    They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this beholder finds no beauty in the wilson farmhouse. I too live in the neighbourhood and cannot believe the city even considered saving this building

  3. lb

    Perfect response Kevin.
    I think no matter what, there are going to be many people with differing opinions on this house. I purchased my house across from the park 5 years ago having been told it would be restored as public space, and that is what I wanted. But after all this time, becoming aware and educated on the issues, the costs, the lack of true heritage features (even though some are trying to force it) and hearing it would be sold privately, I am left with wanting it demolished.
    Here is how it breaks down for me:
    If it is deemed heritage, it can’t be demolished. If it is not demolished, it has to be restored. The city has no money to restore it and taxpayers would complain if they tried. The city would have to sell it. The community would oppose the application for re-zoning from parkland to residential. No one wants to buy it and spend a lot of money to fix it. The city would be stuck with it. Again.
    Enough is enough. There are a few items (a window, etc) that is heritage, save them, demolish the rest and let us move on. Before someone gets hurt by this house.

    • Dennis Galon

      ML, it sometimes takes courage to express an opinion contrary to that of vocal members of your neighbourhood. I congratulate you for stepping forward with your contrary view. I also assure you that in the wider community, heritage activists have for more than a decade worked hard to have this Wilson Farmhouse preserved as a prominent feature in the Wilson Farmhouse Park, the central amenity around which the Northern Heights community was planned and built. Now that this issue has once again become a city wide issue, you will soon find yourself, ML, well supported.

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