Contact your councillor in response to the Mayfair mayday

So here’s your chance to achieve a reprieve for Kitchener’s Mayfair Hotel at King and Young Streets.

The expanding issue is scheduled for a vote at Monday evening’s council meeting. What’s known as a reconsideration vote will determine if the subject can be discussed again by the mayor and 10 councillors.

In order to have a repeat debate, two thirds — eight councillors — have to vote to reconsider an issue that bulldozed over Kitchener’s heritage staff and was never reviewed by members of the city’s heritage committee.

The request for a second look at the troublesome subject follows a recent 7-4 vote where councillors including the mayor and the ward councillor for the Mayfair accepted a ruling that the Young Street building was unsafe and opted to remove a heritage intention to designate the building. After defeating my motion to defer the issue, the same seven councillors voted to legally cleared the way for Young Street demolition which the owner has scheduled to take place in the next few weeks.

And latest move in the ongoing debacle?

Mayfair owners will ask council that a similar heritage intention to designate adjacent properties at 156-158 King Street also be removed, presumably to expand their demolition plans.

Meanwhile, heritage supporters want council to save either the historic Mayfair buildings, the lower portion of the hotel or its facade. They also want any demolition decisions delayed so that an architectural-heritage restoration expert can be hired to review a situation where two engineers have declared the building unsafe and at risk of imminent collapse.

I would urge any voter who cares about the Mayfair properties to call or email their councillors this weekend and make their feelings and known.

The seven who, alarmed at the reported condition of the Mayfair, voted to remove the heritage intention are: Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, Coun. Sarah Marsh (whose downtown ward includes the properties) as well as Couns. Bil Ioannidis, Dave Schnider, Paul Singh, Kelly Galloway-Sealock and Scott Davey.

I joined Couns. Yvonne Fernandes, John Gazzola and Zyg Janecki (council’s two representatives on our heritage committee) to oppose demolition.

I would also invite voters to come to the 7 p.m. council meeting as a response to the Mayfair mayday.

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