The chickens apparently are coming home to roost

Posted January 22, 2014

It was with great interest to read in the Mercury that the last owner of the derelict Wilson Farmhouse says it should be demolished. “You can’t save this thing,” Jack Ingram recalled saying to Rob Reynen, Guelph’s chief building inspector several years ago.

Yet despite this advice, the city did not demolish the building that is now surrounded by a large subdivision of homes.

Despite this, Coun. Ian Findlay outlined a plan to have the city invest $500,000 to refurbish the building and turn it into a community centre. Findlay trotted out a number of heritage advocates determined to save the building. Last November, Coun. Leanne Piper, a former head of the heritage organization in Guelph, introduced a motion placing a 120-day moratorium on demolishing the building. This was to allow the city to receive applications for saving the building.

That ruling expires March 20 and then the building is to be demolished.

Now the heritage mavens are coming out of the woodwork to attempt again to stop the Wilson demolition.  Ben Barclay, a local woodworker, says the building has “good bones” but has cosmetic damage. Jack Ingram counters that the foundation consists of big stones stacked up on each other to support the structure.

Again Barclay said the building is salvageable and the city could hold the mortgage to be used to renovate the property. The loan would be repaid with income from use of the property as a community centre.

The city’s assistant solicitor, Mike Kershaw, said that up to January 20, the city had received no formal expressions of interest.

Why does the majority of council continue to delay this inevitability? With the advice of the city staff, the former owner of the house, the resident’s surrounding the house, it is time to rid the community of this ugly duckling of an era long forgotten.

The costs are substantial so why should the citizens support such a scheme to please a  minority of heritage supporters?

Not even Mike Holmes could save this dump.






Filed under Between the Lines

5 responses to “The chickens apparently are coming home to roost

  1. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Gerry: You may have mixed up your domesticated avian critters as it would seem it’s the turkeys coming home to roost. The lack of reported structural integrity is nothing that couldn’t be solved by the application for about 30 nanoseconds of a CAT D-9.

  2. Oracle

    Yes Gerry, once again the braying Jackasses who own nothing and invest in nothing are trying to get the long suffering and over-taxed people of Guelph to save their latest white elephant. These clowns do not understand what a rubble foundation is and what happens when someone, in this case the City, turns off the heat. Subsequent freeze/thaw cycles take their toll, and the spray painters have their fun. The City then paints over the graffiti laden bricks and this destroys the fire glaze on the bricks. Then Mr. Barclay states that the building has good bones which leads one to conclude that he might have a few bricks loose! I agree with Mr, Tolhurst – the City needs to grow balls – WRECKING BALLS!

    • Oracle: When you have a city council dominated by those with minority agendas, you get the Wilson Farmhouse debacle. Just remember who pushed this ridiculous proposal to resurrect a dead horse next October. Their names are Ian Findlay, Leanne Piper, Todd Dennis, Karl Wettstein, Lise Burcher, Maggie Laidlaw and June Hoffland. They listened to the minority heritage advocates and not to the residents surrounding this relic.

  3. Eleanor Ross

    These people who want to spend a small fortune to save a rotting shell just amaze me. But none of these heritage mavens care about the actual physical heritage locations in Guelph, such as the location at Allen’s Bridge where John Galt cut down the first tree to start the city. This location is now dominated by a large ugly heap of grey concrete which not only blocks the views but casts a big black shadow on everything. Or how about the magnificent trees and grounds of Royal City Park? Once the gorgeous entry to the city but now just part of a new development on the old Rockwell site where they were allowed to cut down and tear up all the trees surrounding the property, many of which were huge and old! Why was this land not purchased and added to the park as parking so more people could enjoy it and all the trees could have been saved. Also they are adding on street parking for this development on the two busiest roads into the city??
    These are the same people who want to demolish a dozen thriving businesses on Wellington Street all of which pay taxes, employ people and serve customer, all to create a park along the river! The same people who obliterated the river side park along Wellington St by planting scrub bush and non-indigenous trees. Holy Cow. There is no logic in this city today.

    • Eleanor Ross: That’s a double Holy Cow! from me. Throw in the old Carnegie Library that was torn down and the heritage mavens’ preservation arguments seem empty and self-serving.

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