"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Not all that meets the eye

Since last Tuesday Councillors have received five lengthy e-mails extolling the   unique beauty of the  S.E. proposed  heritage neighborhood.

Undoubtedly they are the ratepayers'  who initiated the request for heritage designation.

I'm not sure how familiars the consultant, Councillors  and staff  may be with housing stock
in the old part of town.

I'm familiar with number of areas and properties do not conform to the idyllic picture presented.

Soon after I came to Aurora, I went looking at homes in the old part of town. Taxes were cheaper
and all amenities called for a drive from our neighborhood.

When  an attractive house on Wells Street went on the market, I took the tour. The only nice thing about it was the balcony. Ceilings on the ground floor were ten feet high . Second floor bedrooms  had head room was only in the centre. Basement was dirt floor and unusable .

A son lived in a house at the bottom of Tyler hill. When the creek flooded  so did the basement.

 Another on the east side  was garage , rented  out as living space.

In a flat on Walton Drive, entrance to the basement was by trap door in the floor and ladder .

Finally  bought a semi on Metcalfe Street. House too old , lot too narrow for any possibility of renewal or renovation.

Another son  live in a flat in a house on the east side of Larmont Street . No property. Just house.

One daughter lived in a fire trap on a corner on Centre Street for a year to save money for a down payment.

Another in a third floor flat on Catherine  which only had  head room in the centre space.

I've visited  homes with basements flooded with  raw sewage when the creek  flooded .The creek meanders throughout the town  .

A house on Catherine, with  bulging plaster walls  and ceilings detached from lathe, sloping floors
narrow stairs  to the second floor sloped against an outside wall  and a basement without head room dug out after the fact.

Another I re-call , three or four up from Yonge Street where the ceiling actually did collapse from age.

I've seen plenty of housing in the old town  not only inadequate but downright  unsafe and would never meet modern building code standards.

Housing in the old part of town is by no means universally  idyllic. Much of it should be replaced
rather than protected.

Throwing  a  Hudson Bay blanket over it and calling it heritage  will not change the reality.

Even if  all property owners were persuaded it was in their interest.

Which they are not.


Anonymous said...

It's part and parcel of that " vision " thing.

Anonymous said...

I am still trying to figure out how they banned team baseball from the Town Park. Surely that did not come to Council ?

Are We Talking Rivers? said...

The Wye meets the Severn.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It isn't unique.
The consultant said that property values would not be negatively affected. He offered no proof because there is none available.
Yorkville started out as " unique " with the buildings to be maintained in their original state. It proved to be impossible - no matter how much traffic the area attracted, the cost of keeping the buildings intact was impossible.
Now the entire area is condos, really, really scary condos.