Last night, the developer was given permission to demolish the majority of the James Street Baptist Church.
The permit sub-committee, began its discussion around 6:15 pm but didn’t finish until around 8 pm. At times, the committee members appeared to be under pressure to justify some of their concerns. The loosely chaired meeting range over a number of concerns, including: the possibility of immediate collapse, the need for an independent structural assessment, and how future designs could save more of the church.
For some time, it appeared that the Committee would recommend the hiring of a structural expert with heritage experience. Despite much discussion, the suggestion suddenly lost support when members were canvassed for a vote.
While the committee did recommend a number of conditions, the essential proposal is to take down everything but the East Towers of the Church. The East Towers is the portion of the Church that faces James Street South.
The developer indicated during the meeting that he would move quickly with work once approval was given.
On Oct 9th, Hamilton’s Heritage Permit Sub-Committee toured the James Street Baptist Church with the Developer’s team of experts. Following this tour, the Committee discussed with the Developer’s team their request for a permit to demolish a portion of the James Street Baptist Church as part of their plan to adaptively re-use of the building.
Joey Coleman, a local independent reporter, live stream the meeting and archived the video on his website (joeycoleman.ca). I would like to express my appreciation for documenting the meeting and making it accessible to the public who could not attend the meeting in person.
Here is a link to his video. I have created a brief outline of the 2.16 hours meeting. The meeting starts at the 45 minute mark and continues to 3:06 hours.
From my perspective, the most interesting aspects of the meeting are Danielle Bowden’s exchange with some of the experts on the Developer’s Team. This occurs at two points: 1:26 to 1:34 and 2:07 to 2:13.
I also found the general discussion between the developer’s team and the Committee very interesting, particularly with regards to what information should be expected from them when putting forward a request for a partial demolition of a heritage designated building (2:13-3:06). As a result of this discussion, the Commission postponed the decision on the permit until Wed, October 23rd, 2013.
Brief Outline of the Meeting:
45.00 minute mark – meeting of the Municipal Heritage Permit Sub-Committee begins
53.00 minute mark – presentation by the developer’s team begins
58.00 minute mark – outline of the structural problems
1.04.00 hour mark – two additional structural concerns: soil and snow
1.12.00 hour mark- outlining how the building should be treated as three components: East Tower, Centre Aisle, and West Tower.
1.14.00 hour mark – outline of what elements the developer wishes to save
1.19.00 hour mark – questions from members of the heritage committee begins
Where does the snow build up?
Does the snow build up on the west side of the east tower?
If you take off the rear portion of the building will the snow still build up?
1.26.00 hour mark – Danielle Bowden asks whether it is possible to fix the structural issues identified by the Developer’s team of experts (1.26-1.34).
1.34.00 hour mark – more questions from different members of the committee
Where did ground soil information come from?
Was the construction normal for the period?
Did you look at St. Patrick’s Church which suffered similar problems and is being successful restored?
1:45.00 hour mark – question why there was not a heritage preservation report and then a discussion over what kind of information the committee should have from the developer.
2:07.00 hour mark – Danielle Bowden question’s the lost of so much of the Jackson Street side of the Church and whether this could be saved (2:07 to2:13).
2:51.00 hour mark – what does the committee what to do and what are their options
#HamOnt Developer made a surprised requested to demolished 2/3 of the heritage designated James Baptist Church.
The Developer, who had purchased the Church in 2012, plans to build a condo tower, incorporating the Church as part of the project. Last week, the developer requested that they be permitted to demolish everything beyond the front section of the Church. The Developer claims that the building is structurally unsafe and must be removed if any portion of the building is to be saved. Heritage advocates are surprised and concerned about this development. Local reporter, Joey Coleman broke this story and his report and the debate among heritage supporters can be found at the online Blog: Raise the Hammer.
This is the official web site of the Save Century Manor Task Force 2 (CMTF2). This task force was created not only to draw attention to the existence of Century Manor, an important Hamilton heritage building in danger of demolition by neglect, but also to provide information on Century Manor and to gain support within and outside our community for our ongoing fight to save and preserve this heritage building through restoration and adaptive reuse.