Dozens of historic Kitchener buildings up for protection
KÜCHENER – In one step to protect historic buildings that are threatened with demolition, the city’s employees want more than 60 different addresses to be included in the register of culturally significant objects.
“I’m glad to see that,” said Coun. Frank Etherington, the only elected official sitting on Heritage Kitchener.
Heritage Kitchener, the advisory group committed to protecting historic buildings, will review the additions during a meeting on Tuesday. This is the largest batch of Kitchener real estate to come under the Ontario Heritage Act in years, if not ever.
“There is a long list to be tackled. I think the faster we can get through some great ones is great for me, ”said Etherington.
Etherington ran for city council in 2010 on a platform that provided better protection for historic buildings.
He was outraged that former city council and city officials allowed a Toronto-based developer, Cadan Inc., to demolish buildings on Joseph Street that were part of the Lang Tannery to make way for a gravel parking lot. The remaining tannery building on this block is still not protected.
“There are some buildings that we urgently need to move on to quickly,” said Etherington. “If we don’t speed them up, we’ll lose some of them.”
The list of proposed new properties for the Historic Monument Register includes 100-year-old townhouses on Cedar Street across from the Farmers Market and a lovingly restored home on Eby St.
Courtland Avenue Public School and refurbished College Street apartments are also under protection.
“Kitchener has been methodical and careful in what they do about heritage,” said Robert Shipley, a conservation expert at the University of Waterloo. “What you do, you do right.”
In 2006, the Ontario Heritage Act was amended, which gave municipalities the power to prevent the demolition of culturally significant buildings. Before the changes in 2006, cities could only delay demolition for up to six months.
There was a catch, however. The municipalities had to create a register for properties with cultural-historical or architectural significance. Once on the register, the city can quickly designate the property under the Ontario Heritage Act to prevent demolition.
But as of early 2012, Kitchener’s directory was only 86 properties with an additional 364 properties without protection. The latest proposal to add more than 60 properties to the register will reduce this backlog.
The slow, methodical approach to building the Kitchener Heritage Register comes at a price – some old buildings that may have been eligible for registration have been demolished.
Shipley, an urban planning professor and director of the university’s Heritage Resources Center, was hired by Halton Hills to complete a heritage register.
“We do them in batches of 150 or 200 and we are in the third phase of that in Halton Hills,” Shipley said.
Kitchener properties suggested for monument registries
• 69 Agnes-Str.
• 8-16 Arthur Pl.
• 10 Bingeman St.
• 31-43 Cedar Street North
• 142 Church of St.
• 40 College St.
• 46-56 College St.
• 63 Courtland Avenue East
• 107 Courtland Avenue East
• 160 Courtland Avenue East
• 283 Duke St. West
• 286 Duke St. West
• 400 East Avenue.
• 33 Eby St. South
• 181 Friedrich St.
• 67 King St. East
• 69 King St. East
• 3570 King St. East
• 914 King St. West
• 148 Madison Avenue South
• 13-15 oak St.
• 86 Victoria Street South
Source: Kitchener City Employee Report