Posted by: HamptonIona | March 19, 2010

Upcoming Planning & Environment Committee Meeting on Heritage Designation of Convent

On March 18, the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee, a volunteer citizen’s advisory committee, approved heritage designation to the Souer de la Visitation Convent site. While staff had only recommended that the convent building and the land between the convent and Richmond Road be given heritage designation, the Advisory Committee decided to give the entire site heritage status and recommended that the convent be visible from Richmond Road. This visibility was noted in the documents provided in August 2009 to all parties interested in bidding on the site, but was not originally included in the historic designation recommended by City Staff. The documentation provided to the Committee by Staff, while providing significant information on the historic background and importance of the Convent building, did not include any background on the importance of the grounds, even the front portion of the property for which staff was recommending heritage designation. Even though the grounds were given heritage designation, this does not preclude a developer from building on those grounds; it means, however, that they must be respective of the heritage status and should maintain the status in some way.

On Tuesday March 23, the request for heritage designation will go forward to the City’s Planning and Environment Committee. The meeting is scheduled for 9:30am and the Convent is the first item on the agenda. Committee Members are: Peter Hume (Chair), Peggy Feltmate, Michel Bellemare, Clive Doucet, Diane Holmes, Gord Hunter, Bob Monette and Shad Qadri. Presentations from the public are welcome. It is expected that there could be signficant discussion around the inclusion of the land and site lines as part of the historic designation. It is not expected that granting historic designation to the actual building will be controversial. More details on the submission can be found here.

Anyone who is available to attend the meeting and to speak is encouraged to do so. Once the matter has been reviewed by the Planning and Environment Committee, it will then go forward to full Council for approval on March 24. While historic designation of the site will not preclude the development of the site, it will help to ensure that the site is developed in a manner more sensitive to its historic importance. If the entire site has historic designation, Ashcroft Homes will have to have all of its development plans reviewed by the Historic Advisory Committee, not just their adaptive use of the convent building.

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