Central Elgin Council was asked last night to reconsider its decision to abandon plans to designate a heritage conservation district in Port Stanley.
Council’s determination on February 11, 2021 was intended to endure at least until the end of councilors’ current term in office, on October 24, 2022.
However, Port Stanley Village Association President Dan Ross – who was silent in the days leading up to Council’s HCD decision – now wants to revive the matter.
“We would ask that Council consider a new HCD initiative directed specifically to more intense development and those areas which might be targeted for such development,” Ross stated in a presentation to Council.
“We understand the sensitivity,” added Ross, “but we did not even get to a point of meaningful discussion of all possible applications before it was discarded.
“The bottom line is that we need to significantly improve our ‘tool kit’ of planning documents when it comes to heritage preservation and respect for the character of Port Stanley,” he said. “It needs to be meaningfully, definitively, and unmistakably recognized in Central Elgin’s Official Plan, the Harbour Secondary Plan, zoning bylaws and supporting documents. Put simply, make it so clear that interpretation cannot default to developers, lawyers and tribunals. We need to take ownership and control of our character and heritage.”
Council’s HCD process has been like a roller coaster ride. Its 4-3 defeat of the HCD plans came only 48 hours after councilors had voted 4-3 to keep the proposition alive.
It was the third time in about 10 years that Council had proposed an HCD for Port Stanley. Property owners soundly rejected previous propositions and more than 350 people signed a petition opposing the latest plan.
Last night, Council took no direct action after Ross’ presentation, however, much later in the meeting, it was suggested that HCD could be discussed as part of the coming public consultations on CE’s Official Plan.
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