Ward 13 - 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: Ben Benedict, John Fyfe-Millar, Jonathan Hughes, Arielle Kayabaga, David Lundquist, Rod Morley, Kevin Wilbee
No response received: Gil Warren


Ben Benedict

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.

Yes, heritage designation is important in many areas of Ward 13 but the city has repeatedly failed to act to date, so I would certainly designate a property with heritage or cultural value against the owners wishes. This actually happened in June 2018 as the North Talbot Community, the area of my residency, rallied around saving 172 Central Ave., with the result being an imposed heritage designation against the new owner’s wishes. I personally participated in the Facebook campaign initiated by my neighbors, shared emails amongst neighbors, and attended City Hall to support my neighbors who were making presentations.

I do not support tax breaks for heritage properties, buying any property comes with its own set of issues. Taxes pay for municipal services and whether you live in a heritage or new building, those services still are needed. This however, leads into the next question where yes, I do support programming, and financial assistance programs (as does exist currently in designated heritage districts) for building facade restoration. The key here is to maintain the streetscape while allowing for modernized (and safer) interiors. I am very pro-development, especially in the core, but not if it means losing the character and charm that heritage brings to our community. Europe and elsewhere in the world have been able to maintain 1,000+ year old structures, why can’t London, Ontario?

As indicated, I do support funding, by-laws, and policies that encourage heritage designation and conservation within key areas of Ward 13 including the City’s current Strengthening Neighbourhoods Strategy where: “Our London neighbourhoods will be empowered, sustainable, safe and active communities. We will care for and celebrate each other while encouraging diversity and inclusiveness. Our neighbourhoods will be environmentally and socially responsible and will have available green space, vibrant local economies and accessible amenities of daily life.” Ward 13, according to the 2011 Census features about 7,000 dwellings and of those 74% are renters. The area also has a high student rental component and these vulnerable youth deserve better protection, as do the properties they rent. Specifically, Ward 13 is the older area of our city with many buildings dating back to over 150 years – before London was even a municipality. A central component of my campaign is heritage designation and an Area Plan for Ward 13 to: first, save our very walkable streetscapes; second to give homeowners and developers direction as to where and what type of renovations and intensification is appropriate within the area.

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?

The issues of ‘demolition by neglect’ is a blight on our community and discredits good developers and I believe should be considered a criminal act – the ‘Wick on the corner of Talbot and York is a good example where charges were laid. This ‘style’ of redevelopment is also occurring all over London, especially in Ward 13, and in speaking with City Planning Staff there is little that can be done because often the ‘appropriate’ permits have been obtained. However, it leads to properties being inhabited by homeless individuals, and to an increase in crime in our community – in spite of complaints against the owner.

So yes, I am in favour of the City enforcing property and building standards proactively, currently it is on a complaint basis. I am also in favour of issuing fines to owners who use demolition by neglect. In my neighbourhood we’ve seen it with the loss of Lotus Mount on Talbot Street. On John and Mill Streets after a property owner was forced to take down (a total of four buildings!) due to neglect to where they had become a fire hazard, the owner simply resurfaced the area with gravel allowing a free-for-all that has led to an increase in crime (cars are regularly broken into), several stabbings and shootings, and according to the owner himself, it has become known as “the rape parking lot.” As neighbors we are forced to live with this threat daily, as our quality of life and property values plummet.

I wholly agree with adopting a Heritage Building Protection Plan and it is why I am calling for Heritage Designation and an Area Plan for Ward 13. I also support an increase in qualified planners so that the City and developers can have that open access to information throughout the development approval process. This would include increased training for City Planners to better understand provincial and municipal guidelines as well as the principles of Return on Investment (ROI) to better support the needs of London’s development industry – and keep developers informed as to what is required in owning a heritage building under such a plan. We can and must do better as a community.

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?

As a former journalist and active member of the City of London Creative City Committee Member I had several opportunities to work with City Council as well as Planning Division staff and leadership to explore the principles of placemaking, smart growth, and adaptive reuse. However, our past two councils in a desperation for any investment appear to have moved away from these sound development principles. Fortunately many of London’s leading developers have not, while a few never got the memo in the first place.

To balance these pressures – between “the better way through smart growth” and the old adage that “we’ve always done it this way”, I am proposing an Area Plan that includes heritage designation where appropriate, and that includes designated areas for intensification and/or redevelopment. The current Old Oak tower on Richmond at Fullerton is a great example of an infill project that reuses a newer structure and once finished will support the heritage structures (and businesses) around it while providing living space for the increasing number of technology workers being drawn to the area’s high tech sector. There’s also the Southside Groups redevelopment of a property on Blackfriars that has become an attractive infill project that enhances the neighbourhood. These are great examples that should be held up to all our community as insightful and appropriate reuse. Anyone in London, developer or individual, who purchases a heritage property should expect to maintain it and understand the cost involved in maintaining such a structure or redeveloping it for a new purpose. Any investor in anything is responsible for due diligence, focusing cost and return on investment, and if maintaining a heritage property is beyond one’s means then it’s probably not an investment you should be making.

To the third question again, yes, because often when this type of designation is imposed those few unethical individuals are generally motivated to gain an advantage for their own interests against those of our common community interests (again remember ‘The Wick’). It has happened all over London be it buildings or tree lots. So while I respect property owners rights, I myself practice organic gardening and specifically keep a small area naturalized, but it can’t be at your neighbor’s expense. Our city has lost too much of its “magic” and historical charm to those who only see opportunities to exploit their neighbors for profit, not enhance our communities and if we expect any degree of quality of life to exist in Ward 13, this neglect and self interest through ‘demolition by neglect’ has to stop.

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 strongly support the principles of BRT because I have seen the benefits of these 20 year plus plans in municipalities like Kitchener where the creation of an ‘economic corridor’ has brought in multiples of investment dollars beyond the original municipal transit investments – without harming heritage structures and maintaining the core’s character. Similar investments are currently revitalizing a large area of Hamilton’s waterfront. So in this, I also believe that heritage structures can and should be saved (the view FROM the bus also needs to be considered). This could even include historic and heritage components in the design of bus stop shelters along the route – we just need to be creative and proactive in getting the best design possible that is appropriate for our community and that reflects our common values. However, I also believe the current plan is insufficient in that it does address an integrated transportation plan (Via Rail, Greyhound Bus, London International Airport) and it does not connect residential and employment areas – what point is rapid transit if it can’t get you to work on time? London needs lateral thinking, outside the box, and many concerns around BRT expressed by various Londoners capture this concern. For example, in the Blackfriars community our beautiful heritage bridge is being restructured. This however will increase traffic to the area and how have we as a community planned for this, what benefit are we offering to those who will live with this increase in traffic at their front door? My proposal would be to build on the small economic development that has already occurred with Teatcha at 44 Blackfriars, and the Blackfriars Café at 46 Blackfriars, by designating it a micro-business area (think Wortley Village) where homeowners can open homebased businesses to capture both, benefits to owners while maintaining the charm and character of the street. A similar plan for the BRT route can ensure that heritage properties have a new life while the quality and character of our communities are maintained.

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

This is a central issue and focus of my campaign, including heritage designating where appropriate in Ward 13 supported by a 20 year Area Plan so residents and developers know where and how their investments will be affected by both heritage designation and identifiable areas for intensification. This would include areas design for micro-businesses (coffee shops, home based business, etc.). To do this will require an increase in the number of professional planners working for London, including those familiar with heritage issues, as well as by-law enforcement officers to address those issues of ‘demolition by neglect’ that negatively affect other area homeowners through declining property values.

Heritage and maintaining a walkable and livable community with our beautiful streetscapes is one of the main reasons why I decide to run for Council. For the past eight years Council has failed to invest in our community – sending a message to investors that London doesn’t believe it is worth investing in. While investments like Dundas Place downtown will help, and is a good start, this lack of investment has devastated our manufacturing sector while other regional communities benefit.

I love this community, I am actively engaged with my neighbors, the London Police Services, Planning Division, and London Cares to maintain the quality of life that comes with living downtown. I’ve been involved in committee work for over 28 years be it at Western, in Sarnia-Lambton or London, because I care. London need an experienced and rationale voice to lead our community, to show that we believe in ourselves and are open to investments, especially in manufacturing where we haven’t seen any significant investments for nearly 10 years now. I am running to be that rational voice because I believe London deserves better.

My passion and love for my community is evident in a mural I was commissioned to complete by my neighbors during the summer of 2017 at 75 Albert Street that focuses on both our natural heritage though the Thames River and our heritage streetscapes along with intensification projects. Vote Ben Benedict, because I care and want to ensure London continues to do and be better – as I have in the North Talbot Community for the past 19 years.


John Fyfe-Millar

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.

1. I believe each situation can be different and therefore, I would not consider a blanket statement of designating without the consent of the property owner.

2. I would not support property tax breaks unless a building is being converted for reuse. This could be over a 10-year period and applied for one time. I also feel that organizations such as LACH who are the commission in charge of London Heritage should play a larger role in creating a system where people can get support and direction when restoration and maintenance is required. They should be an advisory council to assist people.

3. Absolutely. The policies create a proactive approach to heritage restoration and maintenance instead of the reactive approach that we are seeing today.

4. I would support this 100%. There are costs associated with heritage properties that are not associated with other properties. They are more expensive to maintain, and I would support the creation of a fund to help restore and maintain heritage properties.

5. a) a fund to support restoration and maintenance b) a policy that ensures buildings that are significant be recognized on title as properties that cannot be torn down c) the purchase and restoration of a heritage property that can be used to acknowledge our history as a municipality.

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. Again, a proactive approach. We need to ensure people who are purchasing these properties understand full well what is expected of them as owners.

2. I am 100% in favour of this of all buildings that have a heritage designation.

3. I would support fines for illegal demolition. I would not support this based on fire from a third party, or damage from a third party, or natural issues such as lightening or other acts of God. For those who damage the building with intent, there are laws in place that deal with those issues.

4. I would support this based on the evidence that would be submitted at the time. Again, these issues would change from development to development, and I have not read any other municipality plans.

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. Again, as above on a case by case basis. Every building in London does not have heritage significance, and those that do need to be taken into consideration at that time. It is having an open dialogue and listening to those who have the skills to address these issues. As Blackfriars said at the AGM, we are not anti-development, but we want development that is sympathetic to the neighbourhood. This is extremely important.

2. Absolutely. This can be done through tax incentives over a 10-year span, but reuse is extremely important.

3. No, I do not. It creates a situation as in Blackfriars where a home destroyed by fire sat for over two years before it could be taken down. It was an eyesore to the community, housed multiple groups of people, and was a huge issue for the neighbourhood. Again, I would like to see some common sense in instances such as this.

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 find it difficult that the city could not get around to putting a heritage designation on 172 Central. Over forty years later, and we still couldn't get the city to deal with the heritage aspect of the building, yet we can do thousands of properties in six months?

1. Routes need to be revisited.

2. We need to recognize our history and the way our forefathers laid out London. We must preserve our identity.

3. Work to preserve the streetscape in our downtown. Streets are narrow and walkable. This is a must.

I think there are a multitude of items here. From winding through Western (who really do not appear to want this), to reduced frontage on heritage properties, removal of trees, and destruction of homes, we need to revisit 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 plan to do some from a neighbourhood perspective. I am looking to meet with each neighbourhood and discuss their vision of the community. We need to take that messaging back to city hall and make some significant changes over time.

Let's remember, heritage is constantly evolving. Homes built in the 60's are having an impact on how we grew as a city. As an example, Braemar is the first community built by Sifton Properties. That should have meaning to our city from a heritage perspective. We need to take a more proactive approach to how we see our heritage and what we are fighting for. Let's keep in mind, if a demolition permit had not been received for Central Avenue, it never would have made it to Council.

Not all properties are worth saving. As a long-time resident in Blackfriars, I have seen properties deteriorate to the extent that they need to be removed. This deterioration comes from time, neglect from ownership, and at times from the fact that some homes simply were not built to last hundreds of years. Heritage Districts were designed to recognize features and history in a community, not to control development. We have bylaws that do that.

Restoration of properties with new materials is no different that redevelopment to meet the criteria of the community. A good example are front porches. When a porch is rebuilt using new material, it is no longer heritage. It is redevelopment, while we consider the needs of the community.

Development in communities must be sympathetic to the architecture and history of those neighbourhoods. I will fully support those types of plans.

I'd like to speak to the health of our city constantly being at odds when discussions over heritage arise. This simply does not have to be there case. There is always a balance between cost and effect. We need to start a dialogue where people can work more closely together and not always at odds.

Lastly, I would never put property over people. Our neighbourhoods are the people who live there and choose to call it there home. They are people committed to one another and committed to their home. Their opinion, over many others are the ones that are most important to me in any discussion on the future of their community.


Jonathan Hughes

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 it is always best practice to try to work with all parties to find solutions that work for everyone as a first step. That being said, I would consider designating a property with heritage or cultural value under the Ontario Heritage Act without owner agreement, especially as the property owner has a formal process to appeal.

I believe it is important for the city to encourage heritage conservation and provide the necessary by-laws, policies and advice to encourage property owners to do so. I would consider greater involvement including financial in properties that are deemed highly significant to the city.

Ward 13 has several areas of significant heritage value and the best way to provide the widest protection is through Heritage Conservation Districts, several of which are already in place in the ward.

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?

'Demolition by neglect' is a significant concern for me and I do believe action should be taken.

Again, I always believe the best approach is to try to work with property owners to find a workable solution to protect properties. Where property owners are clearly not maintaining their properties and make no effort to remedy the situation, then yes the appropriate policies should be in place for the city to monitor, take action and seek reimbursement from the property owner.

I am open to reviewing the heritage building protection plan initiatives from other cities for adoption in London.

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?

There are many examples of heritage structures that have been thoughtfully redeveloped that allow for the key heritage components to be preserved while allowing for further development. Again, these successful projects come about by developers and the municipality working together in consultation with the community.

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?

It goes without saying that heritage properties on the routes of BRT need to be protected. it is important that the city walks the talk and sets the example if we expect the same from other property owners.

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

Heritage protection is a priority for Ward 13 especially considering the many areas of important heritage and cultural significance throughout the downtown communities. The HCD designations are an important part of this. Protecting and preserving the great neighbourhoods of Ward 13 is front and centre in my election materials.

I thank you for bringing this important topic to everyone's attention and would be delighted to meet with you as councillor at any time.


Arielle Kayabaga

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.

- There are times when a property is so valuable to the City, culturally and historically, that preservation must be prioritized in a specific development proposal.  I believe, however, that through consultation with all parties we can find a way forward that will benefit both the proposal and the need to preserve our heritage. Through adaptive reuse, there is almost always a way to preserve the important heritage features of a site while accommodating the needs of the current owner. 

- Property owners who are assisting and preserving what makes our city unique should receive assistance through tax breaks, and where fiscally appropriate through direct financial support, for the extra costs associated with that work. 

- As far as advice is concerned, our accomplished City heritage planners are already doing an excellent job of providing this, but yes, there is always room to enhance this service through improving the resources available to property owners. 

- Heritage value should be considered as early as possible so that we do not end up in a pinch at the time of a development proposal.  It is vitally important to preserve our heritage because these properties make London unique, and improve our city as a draw to others. Heritage is an important part of a positive culture in London and in enhancing the quality of life of Londoners.  We’ve done a great job of preserving places and neighbourhoods in London over the years, but perhaps we could do better at considering all residents more inclusively in our designation process.

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?

- I think that we need better enforcement of the by-laws that are already on the books, but there is also room to consider new by laws that would strengthen these protections. 

- If there are by-laws we should absolutely respect and enforce them, however it’s a more complex conversation when we talk about entering properties without consent. That said, I’m open to considering other avenues to ensure better and more effective enforcement in preserving our cultural heritage. 

- Again, there are by-laws already in place to address many of these matters, they are there for a reason and should be properly enforced.

- I agree that we should adopt better and stronger protections for heritage, within reason and in consultation with our home owners and developers so that this is accomplished in a way that is informed by both cultural heritage matters and the financial realities of improving our city.

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?

- I think that the best way to consider changes should always be through consultation with all stakeholders, each and every time.  Heritage and development can exist hand in hand, and the world’s best cities always balance both.  These ideas are not at odds with one another.

-The London Roundhouse is a great example of adaptive reuse.  Done well, it allows us to celebrate both what came before, and where our City is heading.  Holding up such examples when considering new development is a sure way to prove the value of such reuse.

-I would encourage a pause in development while a potential Heritage Conservation District is being considered, with an eye to the fact that neighbourhoods are constantly in change.  So again balance is required rather than a full stop.

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?

-Investing in transit allows us to make sure that we don’t have to destroy heritage buildings in the future through excessive appropriations to widen roads down the line. Transit plans should always be considered in such a way as to maximise the protection of our cultural heritage.

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

-I’ve already included heritage in my platform. I think that we’ve done a good job in preserving our heritage in London over the years. There is always room to grow, and in the future I would like conversations around heritage preservation in London to become more inclusive, so that we are not excluding anyone in our community.


David Lundquist

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.

A culturally relevant property is independent of who owns it. Owners are also caretakers and have a big role to conserve important architecture. The City must prioritize a heritage designation within the context of the community. Only then should the City try to balance those needs with the wishes of the owners. As council member I would support overruling the owners wishes in circumstances where the community design would suffer significant damage.

A Heritage Property with a significant tax break attracts speculative investors. The advantage of the decrease in property taxes encourages owners to passively wait for the asset to appreciate. Owners who value the property in its own right and have a solid plan do not require tax incentives. As a general rule I would not support tax breaks unless they were tied directly to the preservation of the property (Please see my next answer).

Historically important architecture divides between homeowners and investors. I recognize that many homeowners are vulnerable to financial pressure or lack educational outreach on historic matters when considering repairs to their home. For homeowners, I would support tax abatement up to a lifetime cap to ensure essential maintenance gets completed. Commercial investors should be given the option of tax deferment with a lien on the property to guarantee repayment of taxes deferred. Property owners should be paired with local conservation experts who can provide initial guidance to be paid for from part of the permit fee.

Efforts must occur in educating Council and the planning department of the many historical conservation opportunities typically available when a development proposal comes for review. London loses a lot of a valuable heritage because the council, city staff and stakeholders lack critical information about a property’s historical context. Protecting heritage inventory in a city strengthens property values and makes for a healthy tax base.

A style guide for community streetscapes to simplify the “exceptionally” bloated London Plan

London was once a bustling node for manufacturing, banking, and industrial warehousing. The consensus of City residents is galvanized around reinventing London as a hotbed of cultural and artistic expression, young, modern, free-spirited innovation. Unfortunately the London Plan is an impossible to follow 450 page tombstone.

The sheer variety of artistic and architectural variation London offers architects and designers needs to have clear easy to follow guidelines that seek to enhance creativity. Creating a style guide that can be understood in a 5 minute read is a must if London wants to reveal the undiscovered architectural gem it actually is.

An ACO vetted trades and supplier directory

One of the more important things we need to do in this city is to connect skilled trades and restoration suppliers to homeowners and commercial property vendors. Often the biggest impediment to repairing historic artifacts on a property is the lack of knowledge of how to gain the skilled trades and materials. As a councillor in Ward 13, I will champion this collaboration.

A city-partner warehouse for reusable architectural components:

Too often important architectural pieces from are lost as buildings get demolished and sent to the dump. The city must consider a way for homeowners and property developers to either conserve those elements. or allow the City the chance to warehouse those materials for resale to other projects. London is an important part of Canadian history we need to do things that are unconventional in order to create a Civic mentality that is Heritage Matters.

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?

Council must codify the concept of Demolition by Neglect and sets clear guidance/bylaws on how bylaw officers and city inspectors identify and prosecute these matters. The City must also get the Provincial government to amend to the Land Titles Act to allow the City of London to block title transfers of property to developers if that corporation/person or corporate director has committed Demolition by Neglect violation. Cutting off the ability property developers to buy and own properties in London if they destroy London’s heritage is a strategy is very effective. Moreover there is a legal basis for this action as courts already routinely restrict property ownership for a variety of circumstances.

London loses far too many buildings from property owners who refuse to maintain the building. Property liens and enforcement of building standards are essential tools.

Most friction for Heritage Protection arises because property investors fail to understand the nature of the property they are buying. Before a property developer is granted a Land Title on a top tier and critical Heritage building, they should be required to show they have the capacity both in skill and financial heft to meet the permit requirements of the City. I acknowledge that this will require an amendment to the Land Titles Act as the City cannot stipulate this condition under existing powers. Finally I acknowledge that this cannot apply to every property, but there are more than a dozen properties in London that should be protected with this level of diligence.

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?

Since 1969 London has followed a pattern of expansive suburban growth where the cost of infrastructure causes the continued neglect of the core. Today Ward 13 is in crisis and new ideas need to recognize that the re-purposing of historical buildings is not only essential but desirable. Many buildings that once served a particular purpose need to re-imagined. City policies for vibrant communities must use our heritage inventory to drive moderate density condominium multi-household complexes from the preservation of these properties. This includes the inventory of historic homes that on their own are too large for today’s demographic. City policy must guide the owners of these properties create high-quality solutions. City policy must also address and discourage the “value landlords” who carve their storied buildings into a maze of off-market apartments.

Adaptive reuse of properties such as keeping the facade of a historic building while building behind with a modern piece of infrastructure is vital. We are losing important historical streetscapes because of a failure of City and developer vision. The City must get serious about enforcing a style-guide so that when new developments emerge they compliment the past. London has a story to tell through its streetscape and careful attention needs to focus on how we build our city.

Heritage conservation districts are very difficult to determine. The risk other areas of the city will succumb to neglect as developer claim “lesser value“ is a real concern. London is a city where there are so many important to areas to preserve.

A great illustration of this risk is the ongoing destruction of Talbot street which was excluded from the London Plan as a significant historical district.

A citywide style guide that encompasses the entire region and gives developers and homeowners guidelines on how to treat their historic properties with care and attention is preferable.

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 Plan as proposed is not sensitive to London’s heritage. Consider just the street of Wellington. The community cohesiveness and walkability of Wellington Road/Street will be damaged by the BRT as homes on the sides of the street will be demolished. The heart of SOHO will be ruined for retail intensification by the divided roadway and centre bus lanes. The BRT needs rethinking.

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

Yes.

You can go to my website and look at all the things I’m doing to make communities more vibrant while preserving our sense of history.


Rod Morley

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.

Yes to the four points. Designating a property with heritage or cultural value should be allowed because anyone could find out that their potential purchase might one day be designated that way if they do their research on the property.

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?

I would support fines to property owners for neglect. I would like to look into expropriation of property as well. London should adopt a Heritage Building Protection Plan.

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?

I support moratoriums on demolitions. I think we need to get creative to find ways of saving buildings, even if it means finding new uses for them, especially in the Core.

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 support the concept of BRT and I believe we should do everything possible to protect heritage buildings from destruction. There might have to be trade offs but I hope not.

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

I would like to open talks with see the one Company that owns many heritage buildings Downtown to see what we could do to start getting those sold and or developed, we have too many beautiful buildings standing vacant.


Kevin Wilbee

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 am a lawyer and I have 4 years past experience as an elected municipal councillor in Huron East, north of London, which has provided me with essential skills and knowledge that is relevant to being an effective member of council in the area of heritage preservation. Huron East is a community with many historical buildings and in my role as a municipal councillor I have championed many heritage preservation projects during my four years on council.

There are several reasons why council or I would consider designating a property with heritage or cultural value against the owner’s wishes under the Ontario Heritage Act. For example, if the property is going to be demolished and it has historical or cultural significance. Designation of a property is also a way to protect the property from an owner who is not taking care of it by preventing demolishment by neglect. Council and I must also take into consideration the value that the building has to the street or the neighbourhood. Having said that, council must also take into consideration, the wishes of a property owner in the circumstances. Sometimes there is a fine line and it depends on the history.

I support and in my role as a municipal councillor in Huron East have enacted property tax incentives for property owners to preserve their heritage property in exchange for tax relief. For example, I have championed the Heritage Tax Relief Program for the Downtown Heritage Conservation Area and any other designated properties within Huron East. More details are available at: http://www.shopseaforth.ca/images/pdfs/PhampletonIncentiveProgramsforHeritagePropertyOwners.pdf

I also support providing financial assistance and advice to those who seek to conserve, restore, and maintain their heritage properties. For example, I was one of the strongest advocates on Huron East council for securing ongoing yearly budgeted funding for a Community Improvement Plan under section 28 of the Planning Act to provide financial incentives for the revitalization and renewal of commercial areas and heritage properties in Huron East. More detailed information on the project is located at:

http://www.huroneast.com/he_gov/documents/2017BrusselsCIPforWebsite.pdf

I have supported providing free education and advice to property owners. For example, I helped secure funding for and the implementation of a Building Pathology Report of heritage properties in Huron East. I then helped authorize workshops on heritage restoration that provides business owners and residents who have buildings of historical significance with free practical advice on best practices to identify common problems and repair and restore their buildings. This was important to me because education is the keystone to heritage preservation. For more information on this project can be found at: http://www.huroneast.com/he_gov/documents/BuildingPathologyReportSeaforthOntario1.02.pdf

For many more additional detailed examples of heritage preservation initiatives that I have helped fund and champion, please visit: http://www.huroneast.com/index.php?sltb=eco_rep

Should I be elected to London city council, I will continue to champion the types of concrete examples of heritage preservation and funding that I have outlined above. I have a demonstrable and proven record as outlined above of listening and working with professionals to preserve our heritage.

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?

Demolition by neglect is a significant problem in London as it is in many other communities. If property owners leave the building and let it fall apart, it will lead to it being condemned and demolished. Sometimes property owners don’t get it and don’t realize what they have. This is where, education becomes the keystone to heritage preservation, knowing and learning the history of a building and the value of the building. In addition to education, council has a role to play in preventing demolition by neglect which can include promoting designation if it prevents demolition by neglect.

When it comes to enforcing property and building standards for heritage structures, the building inspector has a role to play to ensure that property and building standards are being upheld. There is a need for a watch dog who is responsible for enforcing the by-laws in place. For example, a property owner might be fixing the building but not complying with the by-laws or when doing repairs, they may not be using the correct mortar or materials.

When it comes to illegal demolition or negligent destruction, if you want to have credibility in heritage planning and preservation, you must have fines in place to enforce the rules. Where appropriate, sending warning letters can be effective to prevent situations from developing. Sometimes, if possible, the property owner might need to restore or undo what was done. There must deterrents such as fines in place because the property owner might say it’s their building and they can do what they want. Fines or warning letters are necessary if you want to deter the owner from breaching the by-laws.

A Heritage Building Protection Plan such as the one in the City of Brampton are a unique tool to preserve heritage buildings that are vacant or are part of a redevelopment project. I will work with council, city planners, developers, the community, the London Advisory Committee on Heritage, the Architectural Conservancy Ontario London Region and others to develop a plan that works for London.

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?

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?

Development and preservation of heritage structures and neighbourhoods can be done together if it is done properly. It is important to make sure that the new development fits together with the existing neighbourhood. I would work to ensure that land use and community use are compatible. We must work to ensure that each new development works visually with the street scape and the use of the area.

When it comes to adaptive reuse of London’s heritage buildings, buildings can be repurposed such as retail downstairs and apartments upstairs. It can be easily done with the right balance of planning and using incentives such as Community Improvement Plans that provide grants or loans to property owners who want to reuse the buildings. It can be less expensive to improve an existing property than starting from scratch because demolition can be more expensive.

A neighbourhood specific moratorium on demolition for a set period of time can be appropriate if the community wants to keep the area protected until research can be done and the community meaningfully consulted.

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 London Plan or Official Plan requires that all of our by-laws and all of our public works must conform to the policies of the London Plan. The proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) must also comply with the London Plan and respect our heritage structures and neighbourhoods. I will work with planners to sure that transit projects are respectful of these principles. The municipality must listen to the community, understand what people need and come up with solutions that work well for everyone as much as possible.

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

I’m interest in preserving London’s heritage buildings and neighbourhoods while encouraging new development that fits together with the existing neighbourhoods. As outlined above, I have a demonstrable and proven record of listening and working with professionals to preserve our heritage. Should I be elected to London city council, I will continue to champion heritage preservation and funding as I have done previously in Huron East.

Many of my campaign counterparts do not have the same level of experience or legal skill set that I am able to offer the community. Through my relevant past experience and legal education, I have developed the essential skills, experience and knowledge relevant to being an effective member of council and a community leader in the area of heritage preservation.

As a councillor I will be accessible, open, and transparent. Throughout my term, I will listen and engage in dialogue with the residents of London so as to ensure good decision-making and meaningful results. To learn more, please visit my website at www.KevinWilbeeLondon.ca.


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