Wilson farm house

Written Comments for Committee agenda September 17, 2013.

Written Comments for Committee agenda September 17, 2013.
I am a resident of the Wilson Farmhouse Neighbourhood. The house is beautiful. It has been (or was in the process of being) designated under the Heritage Act as a Heritage building. It is a token of the way things were before this subdivision came about.
There is value in keeping the old farmhouse. It was preserved for that reason. I bought my house with the knowledge that the Wilson Farmhouse was part of the landscape. It adds character to the neighbourhood. No offense to the builder, but there isn’t much character in the homes.
The park space is plenty big. In contrast to the old farmhouse with its majestic trees, the sods and paths of the new park took a few weeks to put down. The play structure was erected in a day. We live in an “instant, ready-made” world. And the farmhouse reminds us of a slower past, when things took time to come about. Let’s respect that. All this can be destroyed in an instant because someone doesn’t want to change their point of view.
Did I hear some neighbours are up in arms, because they bought their houses for a premium overlooking the park? You got the park! Why can’t the park and the old Farm house live peacefully side by side: We are Canadians. We learnt the value of living peacefully side by side from a young age, didn’t we?
I expressed my opinion in the December 2012 meeting held at the New Life Church, only to be met with arguments against my opinion. I felt the minds of the people there were made up and my opinion was not valued. In fact, it seemed like the meeting was there to inform us of why the building was not suited to be saved. It was not a true meeting to actually see what our opinions were.
I want to stress that the Northern Heights neighbourhood group does not represent all neighbours at all! And the residents of Guelph Lake Commons have an opinion that also goes against the “neighbourhood group’s” opinion. I backed off after that meeting in December, because it seemed futile to speak up.
Well, here is my opinion: I want the Wilson Farmhouse to be used for community purposes, such as art classes, or to be sold privately to a person or group that will restore it to its near-original state. Maybe there is no budget for restoration, but then please do not assume I agree with my tax money being used for tear down, either. Maybe it can be made into a Joseph Schneider-type House for classes to visit? Maybe there is a wealthy business person or group who will put some money into it, which will be revealed once the house is put up for sale. Please do not tear down the last bit of character in our neighbourhood!  MC

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2 Comments

Filed under Heritage, Wilson Farm Park

2 responses to “Wilson farm house

  1. Farrah

    I agree that the house has charm but the city could not find a use or at least a budget to produce a use for the house and I would hate to see it sold and then torn down by the new owner, as all they would have to save its two window frames which could be added to a new home and then have a private house in the middle of our park.

  2. Dennis Galon

    Farrah, I agree with you 100%.

    However, the current state of the question before the city assumes the building guarantees the Wilson Farmhouse would first be declared a municipal heritage property, a process that involves specifying exactly what components of the building must as a matter of law be preserved. Whoever then buys the building will than have to accept the obligation to retain the features declared significant.

    In other words, the horror you fear of a new owner tearing it down on a whim, can not happen.

    It is evident with even a quick glance about town that Guelph has an established track record for re-purposing heritage properties. The most visible example is the Loretto convent, which had been slated for demolition, has become our new Civic Museum next to the Church of our Lady. My personal favourite is the Boat House on Gordon Street next to the river. A building, once condemned I think, has become a delightful tea room, ice cream shop, and canoe/kayak rental operation. Anyone who knows the history of this site has just got to love old buildings.

    Less visible are the heritage homes scattered throughout the city. These are properties with heritage restrictions accepted by their owners. By accepting those restrictions, these “heritage angels” preserve for future generations historically significant homes in Guelph. There is no reason why, should the property be sold, we would not find another heritage aficionado family willing to protect the Wilson Farmhouse at their own expense. Admittedly, landscaping for the grade difference between the house and the street level will present a challenge, but landscape architects operating in Guelph have plenty of experience with “altitude challenged” properties.

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