LETTER: City needs to strengthen heritage rules

Bradley Craig barn on Hazeldean Road, October 2015. Photo by Barry Gray.

(Photo: Bradley Craig barn on Hazeldean Road, October 2015. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Increased urban sprawl into what once was prime agricultural land and thriving rural communities requires an ethical response from developers, city planners, and various heritage organizations/committees.

Concerning heritage designated sites, why does the City of Ottawa not require developers to provide the city with their plans for protecting or repurposing whatever heritage designated building is on the land they seek to develop and then require the developers to act on those plans prior to the city planners approving land development plans and strategies?

One needs only to attend a few lectures sponsored by Heritage Ottawa or check their website (http://heritageottawa.org/) to see the number of once magnificent heritage buildings in Ottawa subjected to demolition by neglect.

Councillor Qadri reassures developers by pointing out that “the current City by-laws regarding heritage buildings… does not require any improvements to the building to assist with the condition of the structure.”

For the city of Ottawa to have committees that identify historic sites and By-Laws regarding them that afford no protection is unconscionable and completely vacuous.

Is it not time to address the issue of protection of heritage sites by “beefing up” said bylaws and giving them more substance? Perhaps, Councillor Qadri could take the initiative.

Is it not time for the city to provide adequate staffing and tools for the City of Ottawa’s Built Heritage Sub-Committee to better enforce developers’ protection of heritage sites?

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In the 1990s many of us in our university department of ethics questioned if business ethics could ever exist. Nevertheless, for several decades publishers have been churning out books on business ethics. Peruse past editions of the Harvard Business Review, the former CA Magazine, and the more recent CPA Magazine and read the regular articles on efforts to create ethical culture within organizations, ethical corporate citizens, management boards, and institutions.

Is it not time for developers to begin to create a culture of ethics especially regarding heritage designated structures on their property?

Unethical choices, such as demolishing and moving the heritage designated Bradley/Craig barn, may increase financial profit and rapid career advancement, but they will destroy the integrity of the barn and the heritage farmhouse as well as draw negative publicity.

Ethical decisions often go unnoticed and unrewarded.

Deciding to take on ethical responsibilities for protecting and repurposing both the barn and the farmhouse, could go a long way to creating a community and reminding people of the historical significance of its prior agricultural existence.

Has Richcraft made any effort through advertising, etc. to retain a suitable tenant for the farmhouse or someone interested in repurposing both the barn and the farmhouse?

 

Marguerite Evans, PhD (Ethics)
Ottawa

(This letter is an edited version of a comment submitted to the City of Ottawa’s Built Heritage Subcommittee.)


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3 thoughts on “LETTER: City needs to strengthen heritage rules”

  1. The former owners of many farms and properties in and near Goulbourn and other rural parts of the City of Ottawa received considerable financial amounts when they sold their land and buildings to developers. Would it not be the ethical thing for them to contribute some of the funds they received from the developers towards the future preservation and use of the probable-heritage parts of the sale ? Is it ethical for the sellers to take all the money and run ? This leaves it to other city tax payers to preserve the heritage- worthy parts of the development.

  2. Hazeldean road is in danger of becoming a homogenous strip with all the recent box stores and even more planned . With the Bradley farm there is an opportunity to preserve a unique part of our history and with creative thinking integrate these buildings successfully into future development. It’s been done before and these are the special places we want to revisit.

  3. Not allowing the re-zoning from Agriculture to Residential would stop all of this in its tracks. I have been saying it for a long time there should be a moratorium on rezoning for 10 years. If a farmer want to sell his farm he can sell it to another farmer. Developers would know ahead of time that if the land is zoned Agricultural, rezoning it is not allowed, and therefor they would not buy it.

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