Last gasp efforts to save Kitchener’s Mayfair

Kitchener’s former Mayfair Hotel is on life support.

And, during this weekend, there have been a few commendable last-minute attempts by heritage supporters to have a heritage-restoration expert examine and possibly save the historic downtown building.

First failed attempt to delay mad-dash demolition that could happen as early as this week involved an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and local MPPs by members of the Waterloo Region Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

Members were told the OMB has no jurisdiction over such matters and, to date, there has been predictable silence from MPPs.

It’s also my understanding a local architect has tried to bring the issue to the attention of federal Heritage Minister Shelly Glover and ask if there’s any way the dubious demolition can be delayed.

But don’t hold your breathe.

As usual, the resource-starved group has been told it needs a lawyer but can’t afford legal fees.

As part of the appeal and recent requests to the city, the group has asked — and I support that request — to see copies of all engineering reports used to outline safety concerns that justify demolition. To date, only one of two such reports have been made public.

I also agree with a request for more information about why the Mayfair issue never went to the city’s Heritage Committee and councillors have not heard a single word on the subject from Leon Bensason, Kitchener’s co-ordinator of heritage planning commissioner.

Even though this issue cannot go back before council for reconsideration without support from two thirds of councillors (eight votes), I hope those interested in saving the Mayfair appear to ask outstanding questions at tonight’s 7 p.m. council meeting.

Public support might help certain councillors to reconsider their votes on the issue. It might also help create a forum for essential, ongoing debate that could help save the Mayfair.

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