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Heritage home in limbo

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Journal Staff

Bryan Trothen won the battle but lost the war.

The Sarnia heritage advocate had appealed city council’s decision to lift an Ontario Heritage Act designation on a 149-year-old farmhouse at 166 Brock St. S.

The Ontario Conservation Review Board agreed with Trothen, who said the yellow brick home was worth saving, and recommended Sarnia protect it by keeping the designation.

But the home’s future is now in limbo after councillors voted 7-2 last week to back a request from its owner and rescind the protection.

Councillor Bev MacDougall said the building’s fate was set in 1998 when the property was zoned institutional for allow for expansion by Vision Nursing Home.

A number of homes in the area have since been purchased and cleared.

Others noted the farmhouse, which hasn’t been lived in for a decade, is in poor condition and may be too far gone for restoration.

“I’m not sure there’s anything left to save, and that makes me very sad,” said Coun. Matt Mitro.

Mayor Mike Bradley and Coun. Anne Marie Gillis voted to retain the designation.

Trothen said council’s decision runs counter to the advice of its own Heritage Advisory Committee, the city planning department and the provincial Conservation Review Board.

The home was built for ordinary, working-class people and is as worthy of recognition as more elaborate residences, like the Lawrence House, he said.

“Since it seems likely that the house, now stripped of heritage protection will eventually be razed, we will just have to live with the result.”


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