80 Simmonds Ave. decision

A resident’s comments.

As a resident of Ward 2, I am interested in the fate of the Wilson farmhouse at 80 Simmonds Drive. My son attends the near-by Trillium school. His class, and others as well, regularly use the park. The children conceive of the farmhouse, even in its current disrepair, as an integral portion of the park landscape.

I understand from the ongoing debate that property owners within the immediate neighbourhood claim to have paid a premium to their developer in order to purchase lots located near the park. I do not understand how such contractual agreements between private individuals and their developer would generate public standing, as though the desires of those in the neighbourhood outweigh those of the other segments of the public. I would think that if they received false representations from their developer it would be a matter for them to take up with the developer. Nor do I understand how those private desires to see the farmhouse demolished could be sufficient to outweigh what appears to be the legal foundation for its preservation: the explicit inclusion of preservation within the city OP, council’s unanimous 2011 approval of preservation, and the city’s restrictions on demolition of existing housing stock.

At a minimum, I think the public nature of the park would require a fuller process of consultation and assessment before council can overturn its previous decision on the basis of the preferences of private interests, as well as an amendment of the OP, and a formal exemption from the demolition law.

Contrary to a 9/26 letter in the Guelph Tribune, which expressed the sentiment: “We want the safe community and park we paid for. That’s democracy,” I don’t believe democracy is supposed to function that way. The future of the farmhouse requires an open consultation process, in which all members of the interested public are able to contribute their perspectives, and does not privilege the desires of those who seem to assume they can pay for a public decision.   MG

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Filed under Heritage, Wilson Farm Park

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