Home owner de­serves more op­tions

The London Free Press - - LETTERS - Chan­tal Quagliara Chan­tal Quagliara is a Lon­don res­i­dent.

to move the house or to knock it down?

these are the only op­tions given to 75-year-old lon­don res­i­dent Nan Fin­layson re­gard­ing the fu­ture of her 121-year-old her­itage home.

the City of lon­don has seen its fair share of bat­tles be­tween the her­itage coun­cil and the plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment depart­ment, but this isn’t just an­other story about the con­stant strife be­tween the two.

this is a story about the City of lon­don bul­ly­ing one of its se­nior res­i­dents out of her home at 100 stan­ley st. be­cause it threat­ens a $39-mil­lion road widen­ing and rail bridge re­pair on ad­ja­cent Wharn­cliffe road.

It’s great liv­ing in a city that val­ues cul­ture and his­tory and has a coun­cil that fights to pre­serve and ad­vo­cate for such trea­sured in­sti­tu­tions. It’s also great liv­ing in a city that takes ini­tia­tive to in­vest in its fu­ture and pro­mote pro­gres­sion and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. But it would also be great liv­ing in a city that val­ued and re­spected the rights and prop­erty of its cit­i­zens.

“some­times the right de­ci­sion is not the pop­u­lar de­ci­sion,” then lon­don deputy mayor Paul Hu­bert said in a Feb. 1 lon­don Free Press ar­ti­cle that said the city was of­fer­ing to move Fin­layson’s house to clear the way for the bridge and road work.

But is it re­ally the right de­ci­sion when the only two op­tions given to Fin­layson were to ei­ther move her home or knock it down? It seems rather than op­tions, Fin­layson was given an ul­ti­ma­tum.

the plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment sec­tion of the city’s web­site claims the city aims to help “im­prove the over­all qual­ity of life for lon­don­ers.” It ap­pears this pledge ap­plies only if peo­ple don’t get in the city’s way.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers banded to­gether in sup­port of Fin­layson and cre­ated a pe­ti­tion that gar­nered more than 6,100 sig­na­tures in ef­fort to save her long­time home. It seems, how­ever, the voice and pleas of the peo­ple are not enough. to the dis­ap­point­ment of Fin­layson and her sup­port­ers, the de­ci­sion has been made to re­lo­cate her home to the va­cant lot across the street.

this va­cant lot was once home to the st. Clare and st. Fran­cis houses run by sis­ter Dolores Bris­son, a vi­va­cious and prom­i­nent mem­ber of the com­mu­nity who for more than 30 years pro­vided shel­ter and fam­ily to those with­out ei­ther. In 2015, two years af­ter Bris­son moved into a re­tire­ment home, the her­itage houses were de­mol­ished to fa­cil­i­tate the widen­ing of Wharn­cliffe. the fact that the city now plans to move Fin­layson’s home to this lot is more than a lit­tle ironic.

Ul­ti­mately, the City of lon­don is dam­ag­ing not only his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant in­fra­struc­ture, but also the spirit of strong and vi­brant com­mu­nity mem­bers who weave the so­cial fab­ric of what makes our city unique.

It is cru­cial that the new city coun­cil use its voice to pro­tect lon­don’s dwin­dling ar­chi­tec­tural her­itage, and the peo­ple who care for it.

FREE PRESS FILE PHOTO

Nan Fin­layson is fight­ing a de­ci­sion by the city to ei­ther de­mol­ish or move her her­itage home at 100 Stan­ley St. to widen Wharn­cliffe Road.

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