Business leaders today urged Central Elgin Council members to focus on economic recovery and “pause” plans to designate a heritage conservation district in Port Stanley.

“The current heritage proposal has raised a number of concerns … ”, said Dustin Allen, Chair, Port Stanley Business Improvement Area.

“(The BIA) request(s) that Council hit the ‘pause’ button before proceeding any further with the current heritage conservation district proposal and in the future, examine other ways to protect and enhance the character and ambience of the village … ”, added Allen, proprietor at Ports Pets, 208 Main Street.

“We implore council to focus their efforts on economic recovery in our municipality rather than heritage legislation at this time, due to the difficulties that our local businesses and residents are experiencing and verbalizing,” he said. Allen added that the BIA had heard “ … doubts and outright opposition from property owners, business owners and renting residents alike.”

Central Elgin Deputy Mayor Tom Marks is the only Council member so far this evening to respond. “I agree wholeheartedly. Priorities. Priorities,” he stated in an email. Marks is also the 2021 Elgin County Warden.

“The BIA and local businesses are concerned that the municipality and its consultants have not sufficiently engaged and listened to the concerns of property-business owners directly impacted by the heritage proposal,” Allen continued, “nor have they considered less burdensome measures to meet the objectives of heritage preservation and maintaining community character.

“We think dialogue is essential with property-business owners with the possibility of alternative solutions to be explored,” added Allen.

Central Elgin has scheduled a public meeting, using the Zoom application, on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 7 p.m. HCD was soundly rejected by the community on two previous occasions.


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