GUELPH POLITICAST #255 – An End to Demolition By Neglect

The last council meeting of 2020 dealt heavily with the protection of heritage, including one particular case of the Old Crawley farmhouse. Perhaps the fall of the Preston Springs Hotel in Cambridge over the holidays portends a similar fate for valuable heritage buildings in Guelph, but one thing is certain: If we care about our heritage buildings and features, time is running out to save them.

Now obviously, there are no cabinet positions on city council, but if Guelph had a Minister of Heritage, it would be Ward 5 Councillor Leanne Caron. Her ward contains what is presently Guelph’s only heritage district, and her in-depth knowledge of Guelph history has been called upon many times in council debates. It will likely be tested again next week as the Cultural Heritage Action Plan (CHAP) is discussed at Committee of the Whole.

The question is can we preserve our cultural heritage, do so in a way that reflects all concerns, and implement it before “demolition by neglect seizes endangered properties? On the one hand, we have situations like the Crawley farmhouse and the old Drill Hall on Farquhar Street, but we’ve also had great heritage preservation successes like the Petrie Building and the facade of the Gummer Building. How can we have less of the former and more of the latter?

This week on the podcast, Caron will talk about her own love of history, and the dedication to heritage in the Guelph community. She will also talk about our long history of shortsightedness on heritage, and why only some get saved. And finally, she will talk about how the CHAP might be able to resolve heritage protection issues, and how she might have been banking on Heritage Guelph’s rejection of the plan.

So let’s talk about the politics of saving our cultural heritage on this week’s Guelph Politicast!

Council will be taking up the matter of the Cultural Heritage Action Plan at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. You can read the coverage of last month’s Heritage Guelph meeting here, and you can follow live coverage of the meeting on Monday at 2 pm here on Guelph Politico.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Photo Credit: The demolition of the Carnegie Library in 1964 courtesy of the Guelph Mercury photo archives of the Guelph Public Library.

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