Protecting our community's heritage: Freezing heritage demolition in King-Spadina
Today, I introduced a motion, passed by City Council, calling for a demolition freeze applied to all heritage buildings in King-Spadina. This is a significant step in our work to protect our community's heritage, ensure appropriate development, and build a more liveable downtown.
Protecting our heritage
The now-approved Heritage Study Area By-law puts a 1 year freeze on demolition of 303 heritage buildings in King-Spadina. These buildings have been identified through the work on the King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Plan over the past 3 years, 163 of which currently have no demolition protection.
Since work on the HCD Plan began, we have lost 4 contributing buildings – and, we are aware of at least 17 more buildings currently at high risk of rash demolition by landowners. As the HCD Plan nears completion and implementation, this temporary freeze allows us to ensure that we do not lose critical heritage structures throughout our community.
Ensuring appropriate development
The Heritage Study Area By-law prevents heritage buildings from being demolished without planning review and approval. However, it does allow appropriate development to continue. Development applications that have already been reviewed and approved can move forward. New development applications can still be submitted, and if approved, demolitions can still take place.
Implementing the one year freeze allows for appropriate development, while stopping the wild- west demolitions practices we've seen recently in the downtown.
Building a more liveable downtown
Over the last 10 years, King-Spadina has been experiencing unprecedented growth and change. Since I took office in late 2014, we have been working hard together to address our community's deficit in the vital services that make communities liveable. We're working hard to secure new parkland, through planning on Rail Deck Park and more. We're building new community spaces, with a city-partnership on a YMCA in the Waterworks Revitalization, and a new community centre in CityPlace. We're securing new child care facilities in the mixed-use development at The Well. Ensuring good planning practices is a critical part of this work – protecting our heritage doesn't freeze the area in time, but helps us guide and manage growth in the future.
If we want to create liveable and complete communities, we have to recognize and conserve the heritage character that makes each neighbourhood unique. As neighbourhoods like King-Spadina grow and change, that must not be at the expense of our past.
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