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Home worth protecting, review board says

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Journal Staff

A tribunal says Sarnia should continue to protect a Brock Street home dating to 1867 under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Sarnia designated the two-storey home at 166 South Brock a heritage property 30 years ago at the request of its owner.

But last September, council overturned the designation at the request of the owner, who hoped to sell it to neighbouring Vision Nursing Home for future development.

Now, the Ontario Conservation Review Board is urging Sarnia to retain the designation. The 19th century Ontario farmhouse hasn’t lost its architectural or heritage value, despite being uninhabited for more than a decade, the board concluded last week.

The case is what one local heritage advocate had termed “demolition by neglect.”

The board’s recommendation, which is non-binding, followed an appeal launched by citizen Bryan Trothen.

City council ignored the advice of its own staff and Heritage Committee and overturned the designation at the owner’s request, despite there being no evidence the home’s heritage value is diminished, Trothen said.

The yellow brick home was built nearly 150 years ago on farmland near what was then the village boundary with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

“I’m gratified that the board recognized my objection was on a sound basis,” Trothen told The Journal.

“It will be very interesting to see whether council will want to change their minds.”

The board’s recommendation could return to city council as early as May 30.












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