#savethegore – Disagree with Spec Editorial

#HamOnt is hanging it’s #builtheritage out to dry!

Hamilton's Kerr Building under threat
Hamilton’s Kerr Building under threat

I fear that we are hanging our built heritage out to dry.

The Spectator editorial mentions that it is right for the City to proceed carefully with heritage designations but as Matthew Van Dongen recently reported, it has been five years since the last building has been given a designation.

So, how do you associate movement with stagnation?

The City has a very hard working heritage committee that tries to give careful consideration to heritage designations but their recommendations appear to be routinely disregarded by Council.

The suggestion that heritage designations are barriers to economic development is also incorrect. According to experts at a recent heritage meeting at City Hall (organized by Brian McHattie) most Cities will grant requests of property owners to make improvements to their buildings.

The Spec editorial suggests that having a heritage designation creates the opportunity to have a discussion with the developer or property owner over how best to achieve their goals.  I agree with this point. It is my understanding that most owners are pleased with the guidance provided by heritage departments from around the province.

It is also important to note that research done in Canada and the United States reveals that those buildings with heritage designations perform better in the real estate market than non-designated properties.

There is also research suggesting that the impact on communities, businesses and jobs are all positive.

Heritage is a valuable economic asset that City Council and some developers are failing to appreciate.

I agreed the Spectator’s conclusion that increased public awareness and pressure is the key to the future of heritage properties in Hamilton.


Published by Chris Erskine

Inspired by architecture and landscapes, my art explores our relationship to place, memory and identity. As a mid career artist, my art practice includes: painting, murals, short films, and sound art.

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