Finally a historic-building victory in anti-heritage Kitchener

When it comes to protection of Kitchener’s historic buildings, we all have a responsibility to be aggressive watchdogs of our declining stock of downtown heritage assets.
In Ward 9, that responsibility has been shared for more than five years by residents, planners, heritage advocates and yours truly in order to safeguard and save a building behind the Tannery at 195 Joseph Street.
The efforts of those community watchdogs recently paid off with a $10-million plan to  develop the former “hide house” at what was once the Lang Tannery.
When I first ran for office in 2010, city officials and councillors were in the process of ignoring community wishes by demolishing several other heritage buildings in order to create an eyesore parking lot surrounding 195 Joseph on the edge of the Victoria Park neighbourhood. Since then, the community has maintained a close watch over the single remaining brick-and-beam building.
Now, thanks partly to commendable efforts by the current owner, Allied REIT, the building —surrounded by high tech’ companies and close to the future LRT Hub at King and Victoria Streets — is scheduled to become a beautiful new home for about 200 employees at Deloitte Waterloo Region.
All we need now is some additional, well-designed development on that ugly Joseph Street parking lot and community eyes focused on other heritage buildings scattered around Kitchener, a city that, when it is faced with heritage stock, has a record of eating its old.
Two of my favourite empty buildings at risk of damaging neglect, are the former Legion headquarters on Ontario Street — a building that would make an interesting arts centre — and the beautiful old PUC building opposite city hall.
We need to keep a close watch on those and other downtown historic buildings in order to prevent them going the depressing demolition route of the old city hall, the Forsyth shirt factory and the Mayfair Hotel.

This entry was posted in Arts & Culture, Heritage, Light Rail Transit, Mayfair Hotel, Neighbourhoods, Vibrant Downtown, Victoria Park, Ward News. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Finally a historic-building victory in anti-heritage Kitchener

  1. Lisa Harmey says:

    Well done -everyone!

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