Central Elgin (CE) Council narrowly defeated an attempt this evening to abandon its proposal to designate a heritage conservation district (HCD) in Port Stanley.

Council voted 4-3 against Ward Five Councillor Fiona Wynn’s motion – seconded by Deputy Mayor Tom Marks – to cancel Wednesday’s public meeting on HCD and to reject the concept entirely for the balance of Council’s term in office, ending in 2022.

Mayor Sally Martyn heralded the decision as an opportunity to clear up misunderstandings about HCD, and to give the community “a chance to be heard.”

Martyn and other councillors acknowledged the “vast majority” of telephone calls and emails they’ve received were opposed to HCD, but the mayor said: “ … They’re reacting before they know … We need to give them accurate information and to answer their questions.”

As it stands now, CE will proceed with a public meeting on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 7 p.m., using the online Zoom application. Some members of Council suggested a more traditional, bricks-and-mortar public meeting, as well as focus group meetings, may be considered in the future.

The HCD proposal includes about 180 properties in the Port Stanley core. It’s the third time in about 10 years that CE has proposed an HCD for Port. Property owners soundly rejected previous propositions.

A petition opposing the current HCD designation has accumulated about 350 names.



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