City needs in­for­ma­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

As a mem­ber of the P.E.I. Mu­seum and Her­itage Foun­da­tion and some­one who has been quite in­volved with an Is­land mu­seum, I am pleased to learn from the Dec. 29 is­sue of The Guardian that the de­mo­li­tion or­der placed on the Hol­man Home­stead by the City of Summerside has been re­scinded. How­ever, some of the state­ments at­trib­uted in The Guardian ar­ti­cle to Mayor Bill Martin are both puz­zling and dis­turb­ing.

Mayor Martin is quoted as stat­ing that: “It’s not the city’s role to pro­tect the property. The city ba­si­cally fol­lows all our by­laws, pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures.” The mayor is also re­ported to have stated his be­lief that des­ig­nat­ing a his­toric property is not some­thing the city can do and that such can be done only by the P.E.I. Mu­seum and Her­itage Foun­da­tion. It would seem that the mayor needs to im­prove his un­der­stand­ing of th­ese mat­ters and brush up on the City’s By­law SS-20.

By­law SS-20 is all about des­ig­nat­ing her­itage build­ings, and al­though the by­law has few or no teeth, it does, or should, af­ford some de­gree of pro­tec­tion. The Hol­man property was des­ig­nated a her­itage property by the city un­der By­law SS-20 on March 15, 2010. The by­law pro­vides for re­moval of a her­itage des­ig­na­tion “sub­ject to pub­lic no­tice and a pub­lic meet­ing” (Sec­tion 4.9). For a de­mo­li­tion or­der to have been is­sued by the city, one would pre­sume a prior step would have been the re­moval of the her­itage des­ig­na­tion – oth­er­wise the city would be in fla­grant vi­o­la­tion of both the pro­vi­sions and the spirit of the by­law. Per­haps Mayor Martin can in­form the pub­lic about how pub­lic no­tice was given and on what date a pub­lic meet­ing was held with re­spect to re­moval of the her­itage des­ig­na­tion? Earle Lockerby, Sand­ford, Ont.

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