Marcolongo Farm Gets to Be a Cultural Heritage Landscape After All

Of the many issues involving the Clair-Maltby Secondary Process, the quest to protect the Marcolongo farm is definitely one of them. The Marcolongo family has plans for their 106 acre property that dates back to the 1830s, and those plans took a step closer to coming to fruition now that challenges to its heritage designation have been removed.

A press release from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario announced that Thomasfield Homes and Avila Investments Ltd. have withdrawn their objections to the City of Guelph designating the Marcolongo Farm a “Cultural Heritage Landscape.” The family applied for the designation last March in an attempt to preserve 35 acres of the property including the farmhouse, the barns, the orchards and gardens, the natural features and the rear landscape viewshed.

“Our family and foundation is not wealthy by any means, but we want to leave a legacy for future generations of Guelph residents,” said Assunta Marcolongo in the press statement. “You can’t put a price on protecting the ecology of the Paris-Galt Moraine nor on the value of public spaces for future residents in Clair-Maltby.”

The two developers that protested also own land in the area south of Clair Road and north of Maltby. The Clair-Maltby Secondary plan is an amendment to the Official Plan for this area, and development can’t begin until it’s complete. The Secondary plan is expected to come before council for approval later this year.

So why object? The two independent filings said that the Marcolongo land was “neither unique, rare nor have the potential to contribute to an understanding of a community or culture.” They also argued that the “designation was premature in advance of the approval of the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan which will need to consider the locations of roads, trails, active transportation links, transit routes and servicing infrastructure within a fulsome planning context.”

In January though, according to the ACO, both developers withdrew their objections, but gave no reason for doing so.

“This agricultural heritage treasure will be a highlight of the Clair-Maltby area. It will form a unique gateway to Guelph, the city founded on pioneer farms in the past and grown on agricultural innovations for the future,” said Susan Ratcliffe, President of the Guelph and Wellington Branch of the ACO.

If you want to check out the farm for yourself, it will be a part of the annual Doors Open Guelph event on April 27, 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.

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