#Art Post No.7 – Very Merry Hermitage Xmas

I like to wish everyone the very best during the holiday seasons.  Here are a few moments of the Hermitage Ruins landscape covered in snow from earlier this month.  Unfortunately, it looks like a green Christmas this year, so please enjoy this short video as my Xmas card to you.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Hamilton Artist Update 35

This week:

1. The Ebola Outbreak

2. Hamilton’s 1854 Cholera Outbreak

3. Hermitage Update

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

#SavetheHermitage – Call to Action

Call to Action – Email 159 words of support to Hamilton City Council by 5 pm, Sept 24, 2014 to save the Hermitage Ruins that are located in Ancaster, Ontario. One word for every year that the Hermitage has existed. Council needs to know that the community will support their decision to save the Hermitage.

Here is the link to the Councillors emails

http://www.hamilton.ca/YourElectedOfficials/WardCouncillors/

Thank you in advance for your support

Chris Erskine
chriserskineartist@gmail.com
@erskinec

Hermitage Update – Sept 11, 2014

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Hamilton Artist Update 31 – Hermitage Painting Sketch Project

This week, Artist Chris Erskine continues his painting sketch of the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster.  He also provides a quick update on the recent decision by Hamilton City Council to resolve the fate of the designated heritage buildings to the new year.  He also provides a brief update on the formation of a Facebook group entitled Save the Hermitage.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Fate of Hermitage Hangs in the Balance

This Tuesday, the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee will decide the fate of the Hermitage Ruins, located in Ancaster, Ontario.

At issue is how much of the Hermitage will be saved.  The Hamilton Conservation (HCA) authority is proposing to reduce the surviving walls to a height of 3 feet, except for the area immediately around the main entrance to the mansion.

The HCA case for partial demolition of the Hermitage is based on safety and costs.

The safety argument is based on people jumping off walls seems a bit of a stretch.  If that is the standard for safety then the gates at Dundurn Castle will need to be torn down.

If the argument is that the walls may collapse then proper fencing around the structure (until proper restoration work is performed) should address any insurance concerns.

People, who knowingly climb over or under fencing that is setup to protect them from falling stones, should no longer be able to hold the Hamilton Conservation Authority responsible. This is why the City puts up fencing and signage around construction sites.

With regards to the money, the Hamilton Conservation Authority is a large organization with significant resources available to it, much more than the average home owner.

In addition to its own budget, it has access to further resources through its foundation (including the ability to fund-raise).  Therefore, there is no financial reason why the HCA cannot do full and proper restoration work.

Furthermore, the HCA has had stewardship responsibilities for over 40 years, lots of time for them to plan and set aside funds for proper restoration work.  The issue isn’t money or safety, its values. It appears that the HCA does not value the Hermitage Ruins, and if you do not value something, why would you invest in proper restoration.

When the HCA comes before the Committee on June 24th, it is my hope that the Permits Committee will stand up for our heritage and say no to any request for a partial demolition.

In my view, the job of the Permits Committee is to protect our designated heritage, not smooth the path towards it destruction.

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

 

 

Hamilton Artist Update 18: Heritage Permit Review Subcommittee

Sorry for the long delay, but was sick for the past few days.

The issue facing the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) is whether they are going to step up to the plate and protect designated heritage buildings that speak to a time when Ancaster was known for its mineral waters.

Despite the significant decay of the structure, the Hermitage still sparks the imagination of visitors for a time when we were connected to the land and the seasons. Over the past two months, I have made several drawings (session 1, session 2) of the building over 2-3 hour sittings, and dozens of individuals and groups have told me how much they love the place.

What the HCA is proposing is the demolition of a heritage site that they are responsible for maintaining. A four foot wall does not save any of the designated architectural features. The only reason they are willing save a four foot wall is the cost to demolish completely the building is about the same.

The only thing more outrageous than the HCA proposal is the Heritage Permit Review Sub-committee willingness even to consider their application. The committee’s job is to protect designated heritage buildings, not to ease their path to destruction.

There was very little discussion about how the HCA should change their plans so that Georgian symmetry of the surviving building is preserved, nor saving the remains of second floor Italianate windows, or French windows below that once allowed access to a long gone veranda; nor saving the surviving ring beam that was once supported by corbels.

It appears that the only people on the committee who seem understand the purpose of the committee is to save heritage is Joseph Zidanic and Rebecca Beatty. Mr. Zidanic was particularly effective in pointing out that the HCA has owned the property since 1972 and commissioned many reports over the past 40 years, but they have done little more than quick fixes.

It times for the HCA to set up to plate and start properly taking care of the Hermitage; even if the Board doesn’t consider it part of their strategic mission of watershed management.

(The above comments were first published on the Raise the Hammer website).

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec