Council votes to demolish Victoria Park heritage homes

Seven councillors last night ignored their own heritage staff by voting to demolish two Victoria Park homes that could have provided much-needed housing for low-income  families.
Despite opposition from those staff members, some Victoria Park residents and architectural-conservancy experts, council voted 7-4 to allow regional government to bulldoze the 90-year-old Queen Street homes near Schneider Avenue in order to expand the Schneider Haus facility.
Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic as well as Councillors Sarah Marsh, Dave Schnider, Paul Singh, Scott Davey, Bill Ioannidis and Kelly Galloway-Sealock voted in favour of demolishing the houses. Opposing the demolitions, I was supported by Councillors John Gazzola, Yvonne Fernandes and Zyg Janecki.
A key point in the debate involved whether the demolitions would create what heritage officials argued could set “a dangerous precedent” in Victoria Park or any other heritage district in Kitchener. That precedent would involve any developer who buys homes in heritage districts and then seeks to demolish the properties and erect alternate buildings.
Those supporting the demolitions to make way for an additional Schneider Haus garden rejected my attempt to defer issue until the Region could take time to investigate options other than demolition.
They also dismissed my arguments that the homes could provide emergency shelter for a few of the hundreds of refugee families arriving each year at nearby Reception House in Victoria Park.
Meanwhile, those homes will be flattened at a time when the region — our emergency-housing provider — has about 10,000 adults, children and seniors languishing for years on a waiting list for affordable housing.

This entry was posted in Heritage, Homelessness, Low-Cost Housing, Neighbourhoods, Queen Street renewal, refugee crisis, Victoria Park. Bookmark the permalink.

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