A resident’s comments.
I am writing in opposition to the staff recommendation to demolish the Wilson farmhouse.
I am certain that you are receiving much feedback on this issue, so I will keep my thoughts on the topic brief.
In short, I sympathize with the owners of homes near the farmhouse. They were led to believe one thing by the developer who built their homes, it never came to be, and they have waited a very long time for any resolution on this issue. I’m sure they are fed up, and I probably would be too if I were in their position.
That being said, I do not think this is just a neighbourhood issue; rather it is a city-wide and heritage issue. The Wilson farmhouse is a striking and rare reminder of the history of the place that has grown into Guelph, and I find the thought that the wishes of a very small group of people should be permitted to erase a part of our collective history a very sad one.
It is a strange sort of NIMBYism that animates the call for the removal of a heritage home that stood proudly a hundred years before the complainants were born, never mind when they bought their new suburban homes the freshly cleared lots that were once a farm. I think Guelph is special for many reasons, including its residents’ and leaders’ awareness and sensitivity to the past. One barely has to look to see the reminders of our past that animate much civic pride and raise our quality of life (our churches, the built form of the downtown, the Heffernan Street pedestrian bridge and Gow’s bridge, Douglas street, McCrae house, etc etc)
I’d like to suggest that the city be creative and come up with a good repurposing of this farmhouse, such as was the case with the Loretto Convent, the Boathouse. Guelph can build all the suburban parks it wants, but once torn down, we can never rebuild a piece of our collective memory.
Thank you for your time.