(Photo: Bradley-Craig Barn, October 2015. Photo by Barry Gray.)
On Monday, the City of Ottawa’s Built Heritage Sub-Committee will consider an application to dismantle the landmark Bradley-Craig barn on Hazeldean Road and move it 20 kilometres away to Saunders Farm in Munster.
City staff have recommended that the committee refuse the demolition application. The barn and the land are owned by Richcraft. (The brick farmhouse would remain “as is” under the developer’s plan.)
A report prepared for the landowner argues that moving the barn to Munster is a better option than rehabilitating it at its present site. The report says that the barn is “out of context” in its present location, surrounded by retail developments.
“At Saunders Farm, the barn can be recognized as a significant part of Ottawa Valley history. Saunders Farm is in Goulbourn Township and is located in close proximity to the original site of the Bradley/Craig barn. The structure’s architectural integrity will be preserved, there would be public access, and a more appropriate setting compared to the commercial development of 590 Hazeldean Road,” says the report prepared by Commonwealth Historic Resource Management.
The city’s planning staff disagrees. In their own report to the committee, they say that “moving the barn to a farm-inspired tourist attraction will neither improve its heritage value, nor allow its history within the context of Goulbourn Township to be fully understood.”
The city staff report includes comments from councillor Shad Qadri, who says he supports the relocation.
“Ideally I would like to see the barn stay in the current location, however I believe that moving the barn will provide the best preservation for the structure. As it stands today the barn appears to be falling apart and under the current City by-laws regarding heritage buildings it does not require any improvements to the building to assist with the condition of the structure. I feel at Saunders Farms the barn will be well maintained and I hope would permit the public to enter the barn which would allow for the sharing its history for many generations to come… Instead of leaving the barn in the current location and hope that it does not come to further disrepair; I feel a better solution to retain the heritage of the building would be to have a plaque installed at the house to note the heritage importance of the barn and advise individuals they may visit the barn at Saunders Farm,” wrote Qadri.
Heritage Ottawa says it is “adamantly opposed” to granting a permit to demolish the barn.
“Not only is it an outstanding example of its kind, but it is intimately tied to the historic development of the area in which it stands. Its context is just as important as its architecture and the technological advance it represented,” they said in a statement included in the city staff report.
“To move its pieces to a heritage zoo is inappropriate. The designation of these two structures was an integral part of granting the zoning for redevelopment of the surrounding land in 2010. A requirement to preserve some of the heritage and history of the area that is undergoing such substantial new development was far from unreasonable.”
The farmstead – including the barn and farmhouse – received heritage designation in 2010 for its cultural heritage value. Both structures date to the 1870s. A description from the city report:
“…an excellent and rare example of a 19th century dairy barn. It’s large size, heavy timber framing with mortise and tenon joinery, and monitor roofline with clerestory windows are characteristic of dairy barns constructed during this period. The barn was constructed by well known local barn builder John Cummings with the help of the community.
The barn is associated with the Bradley Craig farmhouse, a Gothic Revival style brick farmhouse constructed by the Bradley family in the 1870s. Together with the farm yard, they are an excellent example of a late 19th century farm complex. The farmstead is associated with the theme of agriculture which was the dominant economic activity in Ontario in the late 19th century.”
The heritage committee will consider the application to demolish and move the barn at their next meeting on Monday, November 9.
More to come….
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