Ward 8 - 2018 London Municipal Election Candidate Survey

ACO Heritage Matters.jpg

Architectural Conservancy Ontario - London Region (ACO London) sent an online survey on heritage issues to candidates running for City Council in the upcoming municipal election. The survey asked candidates about their thoughts on issues such as heritage conservation, ‘demolition by neglect’, and adaptive re-use of older buildings. This is the second time ACO London has surveyed local municipal election candidates, the first was for the 2014 election.

Responses received: Bill Downie, Matthew Greer, Morena Hernandez, Tariq Khan
No response received: Osam Ali, Nour Hamid, Moon Inthavong, Steve Lehman, Matt Reid


Bill Downie

Would you consider designating a property with heritage or cultural value against the owner’s wishes? Do you support municipal property tax breaks for heritage properties? Do you support financial assistance and advice to those who seek to conserve, restore, and maintain their heritage properties? Do you support funding, by-laws, and policies that encourage heritage conservation? Please specify any initiatives that you would propose.

number 1-possibly with overwhelming reasons-2-again with good reason possibly-3-it would have to be very important to receive any breaks or incentive-4-by-laws yes-funding possibly if we have funding allocated and yes encouragement-5-I would be inclined to help heritage or cultural properties that were historical and could be used to educate and promote tourism to London.

How would you deal with the issue of ‘demolition by neglect’? Are you in favour of the City enforcing property and building standards for all heritage structures, including allowing city by-law inspectors to legally enter empty buildings on a frequent and regular basis to ensure that property and building standards are being upheld? Would you support issuing fines to property owners and developers who allow buildings to be destroyed by non-accidental fire, illegal demolition, or other acts of negligent destruction? Do you agree London should adopt a Heritage Building Protection Plan initiative such as other municipalities have implemented that would require property owners and developers to submit and implement plans to maintain and secure heritage structures throughout development approval processes?

1- ask for input from experts
2- yes I believe in fire codes etc. for safety
3- yes again safety
4- yes I do

How would you balance development pressures against the community’s desire to conserve heritage structures and neighbourhoods? How would you encourage the adaptive reuse of London’s built heritage when its original uses are no longer feasible? Do you support, in principle, neighbourhood-specific moratoriums on demolitions while an area is being studied as a potential Heritage Conservation District?

1- consult and collaborate
2- possibly as business ventures in the appropriate use
3- possibly with consultation

What steps would you champion as a member of Council to ensure that the London Plan’s provisions to protect heritage properties along the BRT routes are implemented?

To start with I am against the BRT because of its cost.

Do you plan to incorporate built heritage issues into your campaign platform? How? Please include any additional comments you would like to share.

I plan on endorsing all issues in London-they range from A to Z if its historical and should be preserved I am for it-I will listen and consult with all Londoners and entities on all issues-these are important for heritage and tourism.


Matthew Greer

Would you consider designating a property with heritage or cultural value against the owner’s wishes? Do you support municipal property tax breaks for heritage properties? Do you support financial assistance and advice to those who seek to conserve, restore, and maintain their heritage properties? Do you support funding, by-laws, and policies that encourage heritage conservation? Please specify any initiatives that you would propose.

I believe designating a property is ok with discussion and consent of the property owner there should be an incentive for doing so as well.

I do support property tax breaks for heritage properties this should be the incentive for doing so.

There should be advice and some financial support for residents who seek to conserve, restore and maintain there heritage properties.

I would like to propose a plan for the city to buy some older houses on the market which would fall into the heritage category then designate them and turn them into activity/cultural houses for residents of London or turn some into emergency shelters. This way I believe the house will be forever with London and we will be putting them to good use while preserving our history.

How would you deal with the issue of ‘demolition by neglect’? Are you in favour of the City enforcing property and building standards for all heritage structures, including allowing city by-law inspectors to legally enter empty buildings on a frequent and regular basis to ensure that property and building standards are being upheld? Would you support issuing fines to property owners and developers who allow buildings to be destroyed by non-accidental fire, illegal demolition, or other acts of negligent destruction? Do you agree London should adopt a Heritage Building Protection Plan initiative such as other municipalities have implemented that would require property owners and developers to submit and implement plans to maintain and secure heritage structures throughout development approval processes?

Basically if a house is designated by the city of London is neglected I believe it will be up to the city to fix it in order to preserve our history is a buildings is burnt to the ground then the property must be cleaned up and sold because if rebuilt it would not be a heritage site anymore.

I am in favour of the city enforcing building standards for heritage sites and also for inspectors to enter empty building to endure the safety of Londoners.

Yes there should obliviously be fines for non accidental fire and illegal demolition and acts of negligent destruction.

Yes a Heritage Building Protection Plan would be great.

How would you balance development pressures against the community’s desire to conserve heritage structures and neighbourhoods? How would you encourage the adaptive reuse of London’s built heritage when its original uses are no longer feasible? Do you support, in principle, neighbourhood-specific moratoriums on demolitions while an area is being studied as a potential Heritage Conservation District?

Well there should be some clear rules made by the city that developers are not allowed to demolish heritage sites without a vote by city council and if enough residents come forward in the particular ward were the building in question of being demolished is then any further effort of the demolition process should be stopped.

What steps would you champion as a member of Council to ensure that the London Plan’s provisions to protect heritage properties along the BRT routes are implemented?

The BRT should follow are rules relating to heritage sites, if the heritage site is in the way of the BRT the BRT planners must find another way I would be making sure this is brought forward to the city hall. The current BRT plan does not seem suitable for London and should be rethought or changed completely.

Do you plan to incorporate built heritage issues into your campaign platform? How? Please include any additional comments you would like to share.

I don't plan on having any built heritage issues on my platform. I do believe that London must continue to preserve all current heritage sites with the help of owners and residents. The city of London must find ways to acquire additional heritage properties as well.


Morena Hernandez

Would you consider designating a property with heritage or cultural value against the owner’s wishes? Do you support municipal property tax breaks for heritage properties? Do you support financial assistance and advice to those who seek to conserve, restore, and maintain their heritage properties? Do you support funding, by-laws, and policies that encourage heritage conservation? Please specify any initiatives that you would propose.

The Ontario Heritage Act allows a property that has not been designated, but that municipal council believes to be of cultural heritage value or interest, to be listed on the municipal register. Although this means the property can then be recommended for designation, I believe that the property owner is a key player in a designation.

As such it is important to discuss with owners to ensure that they are in agreement and actively engaged in the process. There are many questions and concerns the owner might have that may need to be clarified or addressed so that they can view the designation as a way of ensuring their property is protected for the future. Designating a property with heritage value against the owner’s wishes, should be a last resort and done so only if there is significant community support for the designation.

It is important to support owners of heritage properties by connecting owners with people within their municipality who can provide advice on how to conserve, restore, and maintain their property. Ensuring that we have an adequate tax relief can help ease that cost.

Incentives such as tax relief and grants are essential as they stimulate private property maintenance of heritage buildings so that they may once again have the opportunity to become viable economic generators for the City of London. Adaptive reuse of properties can create housing options, business locations and overall community improvement.

How would you deal with the issue of ‘demolition by neglect’? Are you in favour of the City enforcing property and building standards for all heritage structures, including allowing city by-law inspectors to legally enter empty buildings on a frequent and regular basis to ensure that property and building standards are being upheld? Would you support issuing fines to property owners and developers who allow buildings to be destroyed by non-accidental fire, illegal demolition, or other acts of negligent destruction? Do you agree London should adopt a Heritage Building Protection Plan initiative such as other municipalities have implemented that would require property owners and developers to submit and implement plans to maintain and secure heritage structures throughout development approval processes?

A first step in dealing with demolition by neglect would be not to permit owners of vacant buildings of heritage interest to benefit from any property tax decrease unless they abide by the preservation standards.

I am in favor of enforcing city by-laws. That being said, it is important for owners of heritage structures and community members to be included in the decision process.

In adopting a Heritage Building Protection Plan initiative, the city would have to ensure that there is support in the community for this plan. With community support, initiatives are more likely to be successful. A Heritage Building Protection Plan, would also give the city and opportunity to have set guidelines for all stakeholders including owners and the city. It would also set clear standards for conservation, maintenance, demolition as well as consequences for non-compliance.

How would you balance development pressures against the community’s desire to conserve heritage structures and neighbourhoods? How would you encourage the adaptive reuse of London’s built heritage when its original uses are no longer feasible? Do you support, in principle, neighbourhood-specific moratoriums on demolitions while an area is being studied as a potential Heritage Conservation District?

Often the relationship between the community trying to conserve heritage and development is perceived as competing interests, which is unfortunate. I believe that collaboration between the two can be beneficial for both.

For the community, a partnership with developers means an influx of capital to preserve an important aspect of the structure they want to maintain. For developers and owners it can mean an opportunity to do traditional restoration of a building’s exterior, while also having the opportunity to reimagine the interior to create adaptable space with a more modern look and the sort of amenities that can attract tenants and business patrons.

In principle, I do support neighbourhood-specific moratoriums on demolitions while and area is being studies. However, I feel that there needs to be both community support and a set timeline for a resolution by the city.

What steps would you champion as a member of Council to ensure that the London Plan’s provisions to protect heritage properties along the BRT routes are implemented?

At this time I do not support the BRT plan in its current form, as I feel that there is still need for more public consultation to ensure that the proposed routes meet the ridership needs in each area of the city. It will also be important to address the adverse impact on heritage structures and how this conflicts with the London Plan's provision to protect heritage properties.

Do you plan to incorporate built heritage issues into your campaign platform? How? Please include any additional comments you would like to share.

My campaign platform includes working with community leaders and developers to create more affordable housing options. Adaptive reuse of heritage properties could be an opportunity to collaborate with developers to create a set number of affordable units withing their spaces.


Tariq Khan

Would you consider designating a property with heritage or cultural value against the owner’s wishes? Do you support municipal property tax breaks for heritage properties? Do you support financial assistance and advice to those who seek to conserve, restore, and maintain their heritage properties? Do you support funding, by-laws, and policies that encourage heritage conservation? Please specify any initiatives that you would propose.

Answers:

1) We need to create awareness among owners about heritage but at the same need to consider economic problems of Owner from his perspective as well. Citizens have limited resources hence in such cases Gov ( Fed, Province, Municipal) has to chip in for conservation.

2) Strongly Yes.

3) Strongly Yes.

4) Strongly Yes.

5) Arts, Culture & Heritage are the lifeblood of a vibrant society, expressed in the many ways

- How we tell our stories

- Celebrate and remember our past & imagine future.

From museums to theatres to dance studios to public libraries, fairs and festivals Arts & Culture bring people together and help to build a social glue that holds communities together.

Share in spending on Arts & Culture from City is an eye opener for Londoners. It will compel us to think twice about City’s priorities. We need to increase funding to heritage it is really low rather negligible.

We need encourage corporate & private donors to come forward and contribute whatever they may. City will have to play its role as facilitators and office support in terms of by-laws.

How would you deal with the issue of ‘demolition by neglect’? Are you in favour of the City enforcing property and building standards for all heritage structures, including allowing city by-law inspectors to legally enter empty buildings on a frequent and regular basis to ensure that property and building standards are being upheld? Would you support issuing fines to property owners and developers who allow buildings to be destroyed by non-accidental fire, illegal demolition, or other acts of negligent destruction? Do you agree London should adopt a Heritage Building Protection Plan initiative such as other municipalities have implemented that would require property owners and developers to submit and implement plans to maintain and secure heritage structures throughout development approval processes?

Answers:

1) Needed to to studied in detail keeping in view ground realities.

2) Need to revise the existing by-laws then suitable policy may be framed.

3) As above

4) Strongly Yes

How would you balance development pressures against the community’s desire to conserve heritage structures and neighbourhoods? How would you encourage the adaptive reuse of London’s built heritage when its original uses are no longer feasible? Do you support, in principle, neighbourhood-specific moratoriums on demolitions while an area is being studied as a potential Heritage Conservation District?

Answer:

I need to consider these aspects in detail after in depth studies because all questions are multi dimensional.

Can not respond right now.

What steps would you champion as a member of Council to ensure that the London Plan’s provisions to protect heritage properties along the BRT routes are implemented?

I’ve knocked many doors in my ward, discussed it with professionals, businessmen, contractors etc and the result was obvious.

My vote is NO to existing design of BRT but there is easy and convenient solution to this problem as well.

Solution: $370M funding from Ottawa & Queens Park is for the Transit Infrastructure Improvements in London while London is to add $130 to it as its share. Somehow, things have been mixed up and whole infrastructure improvement project has been portrayed as Bus-Project serving a portion of the city while whole city paying for it hence the response from the London is natural and spontaneous.

As per the BRT master plan there are three major components of this project.

Streets widening, modernize and beautify major corridors.

Smart traffic systems. The prioritized traffic signals act as a central eye in the sky to spot traffic patterns and alter signals to ease congestion and improve traffic flow for everyone.

Bus services on dedicated lanes.

The controversial part is Bus-Service and it is because of its design flaws, so why not redesign it in background and go ahead with Street widening and Smart traffic signals as both of these components addresses the traffic problems and improve the transit infrastructure. Later we may come up with a consensus design for Bus Rapid Transit if agreed by Londoners.

We should NOT miss this funding window and keep working with our MP & MPPs very closely so they can convince their respective governments to keep funding intact for the London.

Do you plan to incorporate built heritage issues into your campaign platform? How? Please include any additional comments you would like to share.

Heritage, Arts and Culture issues are already incorporated in my platform. The topic is at top priorities in my do-list if elected.


Matt Reid

Would you consider designating a property with heritage or cultural value against the owner’s wishes? Do you support municipal property tax breaks for heritage properties? Do you support financial assistance and advice to those who seek to conserve, restore, and maintain their heritage properties? Do you support funding, by-laws, and policies that encourage heritage conservation? Please specify any initiatives that you would propose.

I believe we need to weigh the benefit of heritage properties for the community vs. the individual. We need to make sure we do not lose the gems of our community and our link to the past. So yes I would consider designating heritage designations against an owner's wishes.

I do support tax breaks for heritage properties, as it is much more expensive and onerous to do any sort of renovation or update - even something like re-shingling a roof. There should be some recognition of this added cost.

I think it is very much incumbent on us to educate and support those working with heritage properties. It also helps them understand the value of the property to the community and why it has the designation in the first place. I think the city along with the London Heritage Council needs to educate and support these initiatives.

Yes I do, however i think the by-laws and policies need to try to explain what qualifies as heritage and we need to be able to explain what categories of heritage we are trying to protect. As i mentioned before, these properties can be cost prohibitive so funding is needed to keep the properties in good order to avoid it becoming in a state of disrepair.

City Hall should work to support a fund available to defray costs for heritage properties and the city needs to better communicate the buildings and their stories. I learned recently that Crabby Joe's at Wellington and Dundas is in the old City Hall building and there are old jail cells in the basement. This shocked me and as a Londoner my entire life these are the stories we need to make well known and support our teachers in telling our local stories.

How would you deal with the issue of ‘demolition by neglect’? Are you in favour of the City enforcing property and building standards for all heritage structures, including allowing city by-law inspectors to legally enter empty buildings on a frequent and regular basis to ensure that property and building standards are being upheld? Would you support issuing fines to property owners and developers who allow buildings to be destroyed by non-accidental fire, illegal demolition, or other acts of negligent destruction? Do you agree London should adopt a Heritage Building Protection Plan initiative such as other municipalities have implemented that would require property owners and developers to submit and implement plans to maintain and secure heritage structures throughout development approval processes?

Some of the items earlier such as funding and support for renovations and upkeep of these properties would help ensure this doesn't happen. Eventually buildings like this become prohibitive to repair and we lose that history because no one can afford to keep it on their own.

I would support this within reason. I think an annual inspection would respect the rights of privacy of individuals and ensure any code deficiencies are caught early enough.

Non-Accidental Fire would be a possible criminal offence such as Arson or potentially insurance fraud. Illegal demolition should absolutely have a fine as it's someone taking permanent action that they know to be against the law presumably to their benefit.

That would help prevent problems happening during a development that could have a permanent impact on the building. London should make this type of a plan as easy and clear as possible for developers to move quickly and efficiently with. City hall expertise could be instrumental in this.

How would you balance development pressures against the community’s desire to conserve heritage structures and neighbourhoods? How would you encourage the adaptive reuse of London’s built heritage when its original uses are no longer feasible? Do you support, in principle, neighbourhood-specific moratoriums on demolitions while an area is being studied as a potential Heritage Conservation District?

When you look at the Springs restaurant in a church, or the Factory development in the old Kellogg's plant, there is lots of examples where we are repurposing these structures that continue to use the space for generations to come. More things like this should absolutely be supported to prevent these structures from coming into a state of disrepair.

City hall support and help even with blueprints and environmental studies to speed along the building permit process etc would help keep these structures. City hall needs to make things easier, and they need to be clear from the beginning what studies need to happen and not to keep changing the requirements along the process.

If there's a district Heritage designation being looked at, such as what happened at Blackfriars than moratoriums on demolitions should be put into place. However, the Heritage designation process must not last years but rather move along as expeditiously as possible to avoid undue hardship on homeowners who are awaiting that outcome.

What steps would you champion as a member of Council to ensure that the London Plan’s provisions to protect heritage properties along the BRT routes are implemented?

The proposed BRT system may adversely affect the historical character of some neighbourhoods along the planned routes due to increased development pressure, particularly near the new stops.

I don't support the current BRT plan and want to consult to look at what changes need to be made. I would want to sit down with the London Heritage Council to identify what heritage properties are at risk and look at what the alternatives are. It's important to be collaborative and work together for this.

Do you plan to incorporate built heritage issues into your campaign platform? How? Please include any additional comments you would like to share.

I don't have an exhaustive campaign platform - there are many issues both big and small that i am answering individually. If someone has a question on anything, they should go to my website at www.mattreid.ca and they can contact me through the website.


Thank you to those candidates who took the time to complete our survey. For those who did not respond before the survey closed, we welcome your comments.

We encourage all Londoners to attend candidates’ meetings and debates to learn more about their ideas and suggestions on built heritage and other issues. To find out more information about when and where to vote, and the candidates running for Mayor or Councillor visit the City of London’s Elections webpage.

Shawn Adamsson