Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 17, 2024
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October 17, 2023
Volume 193 No. 42

Love it and List it: County moves to designate rich inventory of heritage properties

<p>The Welbanks house on County Rd. 13. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
The Welbanks house on County Rd. 13. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

The County has a “Historical Register,” a list of 226 buildings deemed to be of special historic, architectural, and aesthetic value. Fewer than a 100 of these are actually designated heritage buildings, meaning they cannot be demolished, and renovations must preserve as much as possible any architecturally significant exterior features.

All of these listed properties will be removed from the Historical Register at the end of 2024 if they are not officially designated.

The Ontario Heritage Act permits municipalities to “list” properties that have historical or cultural significance. Listing a property protects it by requiring owners to give a town council 60 days’ written notice before any demolition can occur.

If demolition is imminent, a municipality can move to designate a listed property, so it cannot be destroyed. Designation can occur without an owner’s consent.

Under Bill 23, however, the More Homes Built Faster Act, the Province is making it harder to simply list properties in perpetuity. It must now be designated within two years of its listing, or it will be removed from the list.

The bill has heritage conservationists across the province in a panic, worried about a grand scale destruction of our built heritage when hundreds of listed properties of historical significance are permanently removed from the rosters just over a year from now.

Accordingly, Council’s Built Heritage Committee is moving to designate as many of its listed properties as it can. Owners of listed properties should have received a letter advising them of the process.

The committee will bring its first group of four candidates for designation, all in South Marysburgh, to Council soon.

“This should be a fairly simple process,” said Councillor John Hirsch. “It is most important that all four property owners are solidly in favour of their properties being designated. They have approved the list of significant attributes, that’s the key thing. They know what they are committing to.”

The Heritage Designation Working Group reviewed numerous sources to find and contextualize listed properties, such as historical surveys, The Settler’s Dream, and heritage impact assessments. It has discussed the proposed designations with the owners of the respective properties.

Owners of properties that are already listed, or who think their property deserves heritage consideration, are invited to a Designation Workshop and Public Information Centre on October 23 at 7 p.m. at the Bloomfield Town Hall.

The Church House on Royal Rd. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Church House County Road Road 13

Identified as a heritage asset because of its physical, historical and contextual value, near the hamlet at Black River. A Loyalist-style dwelling, the house is simple with a low-pitched roof. It was owned by Oliver Church, a farmer and hotelkeeper, and he left it to his sons.

The Cooper House on Collier’s Rd. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Cooper House on Colliers Road (Pictured above)

A one-and-a-half storey brick dwelling with a wide central entrance and transom, a style popular in the County of the 1860s. Both a woodshed and summer kitchen are attached to the main house. This South Bay lakeside property was developed by James and William Cooper, traders who used is as a port.

Joseph Clapp House on Royal Road (Pictured at right)

Just south of Milford, close to numerous historical buildings along Royal Road, including the Cheese Factory. A wood-clad farmhouse and driveshed, both constructed by the son of Joseph Clapp, who constructed the first mill in Milford.

The Welbanks House, on County Road 13

Also close to the hamlet at Black River. The house sits amidst numerous barns. It was constructed in stages, circa 1824, 1850 and 1880. A large Italianate addition from 1880 includes an entrance bay with twin verandahs on either side, a feature common to the County. The original dwelling was constructed by Thomas Welbanks, a United Empire Loyalist, and the addition by his son, Thomas Welbanks Jr.

Heritage Designation Project

This text is from the Volume 193 No. 42 edition of The Picton Gazette
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