A resident’s comments.
I am writing in regards to the upcoming decision on whether to demolish or preserve the Wilson farmhouse.
I would like to see this farmhouse designated and preserved. I am disappointed that it has come to this point and that the city has demonstrated a complete lack of responsibility in ownership of this building. The city has been a neglectful owner of this farmhouse and has set a poor example for other owners of such buildings and has done a disservice to the residents in the area of the farmhouse by leaving the issue unresolved for so long. If the city decides to demolish this house then how can it request/require that others preserve similar buildings? A decision to demolish this farmhouse will be hypocritical and will set a poor example.
This farmhouse does not make up a large portion of the Wilson Farm Park and there is no good reason to demolish it to make room in the park. A trip to the park will confirm this. I hope all will do so before placing your vote. The neighbourhood knew all along that this farmhouse would remain either as a community use building or as a private structure. They have no reason to expect that it will be demolished nor should it be up to a single neighbourhood. This farmhouse is a city asset and all residents should be considered in the decision. The current residents may or may not be there for years to come but the farmhouse may be lost forever. This farmhouse is more than a building. It holds a story of founding families and stirs the imagination of those that see it. A commemorative plaque or the name of a park on a sign does not provide the same experience as seeing the house where a family lived that worked the land around it in a time that predates the automobile, electricity, television, video games and the mall.
Preservation of this farmhouse was promised to the residents of Guelph and future generations when the plan for the neighbourhood was set out either as a community use building or as a private residence and this promise should be followed through. At a time when it is expected that the city will be facing a $3.1 million deficit how can it be justified in the destruction of a $200,000 building and the expenditure of $50,000 to demolish it? Residents have rallied to raise funds for the preservation of the Loreto Convent and to build a water feature and ice rink in front of the new City Hall. Why is demolition the preferred course of action for the farmhouse and no other options explored? If the city cannot find the funds to restore this farmhouse then it should be sold to a private owner at whatever price preserves this farmhouse.
Finally, it seems as though there have been a number of missteps by the city in regards to this issue. I hope that there are actions taken to ensure that a similar situation does not occur in the future.JB