A resident’s comments.
I have several concerns and questions about the recommendation to demolish the house: 1. I understand there has not yet been a full consultation of the community – both of the park neighbourhood and of the broader Guelph community, as befits a community asset and the City’s policies of engagement. I am concerned that the input to date may be from a relatively small subset of the neighbourhood and largely responding to a negative – the boarded up building. I feel a full consultation that presents positive options might produce a very different response. Perhaps the new MindMixer can be applied. I feel such consultation and input, properly informed of the context and cost implications, could provide direction, offer buy-in for that direction and generate creative options. 2. Existing buildings represent not just heritage but inherent energy conservation in that the resource use and construction effort have already occurred. Guelph has honoured both heritage and the large paid-up resource investment by successfully incorporating other farmhouses into neighbourhoods, often as pleasing variation in the streetscape. Nearby examples are farmhouses on Ferndale Ave. and Islington Ave – each within a few hundred meters of the Wilson house. Recent notable examples elsewhere are the farmhouse that was temporarily stranded and then moved on Victoria Road South and the one just renovated off Downey Road. Guelph benefits from several developers capable of the challenge. 3. I have lived within 800 m of the farmhouse for 25 years. I recall hearing the roosters crowing and the cattle lowing. I wonder if one option for it could be as a centre for urban agriculture – though not with roosters and cattle – as well as a green retrofit demo. Vegetable plots, fruit trees, chickens etc. could take advantage of the lot and possibly even of part of the adjoining park if compatible with the park plan and community approval. Urban agriculture is a growing movement, Guelph has a long history of agricultural connections and this is a farmhouse that was recently in use as such. (We often took our young children to a magical meadow previously part of the farm. It was full of wildflowers and butterflies and fascination. That option, however, may be more for a corner of the park, if allowed in the plan.) 4. If City ownership, renovation and maintenance would be too costly, is selling possible? This would both generate funds for the City and avoid the cost of demolition. Or are there cooperative options involving other parties working with the City that would ease the public cost? The large size of the park suggests to me that the area of the house lot is not a major issue affecting park use. ES