Mayor Quarrie Agreement on Wilson Farm House

Originally sent to Councillor Furfaro.

Thank you for providing me with a copy of the Schedules (pp. 17-28) attached “To an Agreement Dated August 16 2005 between the Corporation of the City of Guelph and Artifex Construction Limited and Other Parties” signed by Mr. Jack Ingram, President of Artifex, and Mayor Kate Quarrie for the City of Guelph.

I understood from you on Thursday evening that there is a clause in these schedules that commits the City to use all of what is now the Wilson Farm Park, including the Wilson Farm House, as park land. I certainly agree with you that this would be significant in the current debate over the farm house, particularly since it would provide a solid foundation for the assertions coming from many members of the Northern Heights neighbourhood that they were promised by the builder that the entire block would be park land. It would also, conceivably, undermine the section in our Official Pan (OP) that specifies retention of the Wilson Farm House as a heritage property either for community use or sale with heritage conditions attached.

I presume the clause you are referring to is the one asterisked in pen on page 20? That is, item 1 of Schedule C under the title “Conveyances to the City” which states:

“Blocks 52, as shown in Schedule ‘B’, for a park.”

However, Councillor, may I refer you to Schedule E in the same document. On page 28, under the title “Other Conditions” item 16 qualifies this conveyance of Block 52 to the City for a park with the following condition:

“The Developer shall dedicate the Ingram Farm House (596 Victoria Road North) on Park Block 52, as shown in Schedule ‘B’, to the City for community use. The City shall be responsible for a structural and feasibility study and/or a Built Heritage Resource Impact Assessment to determine the appropriateness of retaining the house for public and community use.”

I understand this to mean that Jack Ingram himself had formally accepted the condition that the Wilson Farm House was intended “for community use.” It would appear, therefore, any assurances the neighbourhood may have received about all of Block 52 becoming a park were either misunderstandings or misrepresentations, contrary to conditions legally accepted by Mr. Ingram.

Further I understand this to mean that the City, on its part, was not committed at that time in 2005 to retaining the Farm House for community use, but rather was obliged at its own expense to study “the appropriateness of retaining the house for public and community use.” Accordingly, it would seem that as a result of the City’s study of the question, it was determinated that the house should be retained, and this determination was then formally expressed in the OP.

In my view, therefore, this document does not legally undermine subsequent action of the City to preserve the Wilson Farm House rather than demolish it for park land, which I understood to be your position; but rather it establishes that both the City and the developer formally accepted a condition that it would be saved, should the City determine that was appropriate.

If perhaps you were referring to some other clause for your view that the Mayor Quarrie legally committed the City to dedicate all of Block 52 as a park, I presume your Council colleagues and staff would appreciate hearing from you before this matter comes before Council on September 30. I certainly know that I and many other citizens on both sides of this matter would appreciate advance notice about such a significant clause.

If I have misunderstood your interpretation of this document, then I apologize. Our exchange on this topic, was, after all, rather brief.

Thank you again for copying this document for me to pick up on such short notice. Your kindness and dedication to transparency is very much appreciated.

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Filed under Heritage, Wilson Farm Park

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