A resident’s perspective.
I am sure you are receiving a lot of correspondence these days regarding the outcome of the Wilson Farm Park and the Wilson Farmhouse, so I will try to keep this brief.
In the last few months, this issue has become very visible and people and groups have come out of the woodwork to provide their views. It is unfortunate it took them all these years to pay attention, as some of them have very good points and ideas to consider. Where was Heritage Guelph until 2 months ago, all the while the house was deteriorating beyond repair for years by neglect?
I realize this is a very tough decision for you, but I hope you consider our view:
You must not vote to sever and sell the house and land for a private residence or business use.
This was donated to the community, and should be retained for the community. If it is severed and sold, this will take a long time to rezone and list, will take a long time to find a buyer who will have the resources and money to repair, then there is the actual time spent repairing the house, likely a fence will be put up, and it will not be a valuable asset to the community and City that it could be.
Habitat for Humanity would be much better off using their resources somewhere else, where they would get a much bigger bang for their buck (volunteer effort or money resources).
I think we can all agree it is time to settle this.
This leaves you with a difficult decision.
Either the City keeps the house, designates it as heritage, and spends ~$500,000+ to restore it for some sort of City owned use or lease as a residence, business or daycare. Which will no doubt cause uproar as the City is already I have heard $2.5 million over budget. And to date, there have been no serious or realistic expressions of interest.
Or the City does not designate heritage, keeps the land a park, and does something to honour the heritage aspects of the land, the trees, and the few items of the house that are heritage. Some sort of artistic monument, ruins and agricultural displays would allow both the immediate neighbourhood and the city to gather to learn and appreciate our heritage. The City could really start something very interesting and different, leading edge here, where school children could come and learn….Perhaps the City could partner with private and public interests to help fund it. Maybe the Agricultural College at the University would be interested. I think other ideas like Councillor Findlay’s Eco house are the types of ideas that should be explored. Let’s think outside the box!
Thanks for reading and good luck with your decision and the meeting on the 30th. LB