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Fallbrook Farm Heritage Site
Update 11


Hello, friends.
 
As the fine weather here in southern Ontario hastens the blooming of spring flowers and broadens our smiles, we write to you today with an update on recent progress with the Fallbrook campaign.
 
In our last note we mentioned that Wayne and I had met with Ted Arnott, MPP, and that he had committed to meet with Credit Valley Conservation senior personnel to discuss the Fallbrook matter.  On May 8th, Mr. Arnott will get together with Rae Horst, Chief Administrative Officer of CVC, at their Mississauga headquarters.  We will endeavour to get an update on the outcome of that session immediately thereafter, and will share our news with you just as soon as we can.  We are optimistic that Mr. Arnott may be able to
be a persuasive influence on them.
 
Last Tuesday, members of our team met with senior Heritage Department staff at the Ministry of Culture in Toronto.  Attendees included Dan Schneider (Senior Policy Advisor; he was quoted in the STAR story), Michael Johnson and Tamara Anson-Cartwright of the Ministry, Tom Murison (heritage expert), Michael Vaughan (whose family purchased the property from the McKays in 1943 and sold it to CVC in 1973), Rollo Myers (Ontario Architecture Conservancy), Wayne, Sandy and myself.  From our description of the findings and information about the house we have amassed thus far, the Ministry reps felt that the house was deserving of serious consideration for 'designation'.  Additionally, the Ontario Architecture Conservancy will contract Mr. Murison to prepare a report on the Fallbrook dwelling; this document will be instrumental in backing our demand(s) to Heritage Halton Hills that the homestead be reclassified on the heritage register as a 'designated structure'.  'Designation' is critical at this stage, as CVC will be prevented from demolishing / deconstructing the building with this label in place.  In all, the dialogue with the Ministry was positive, and we formed a new liaison that will be fruitful down the road.
 
Our community meeting this past Saturday in Limehouse was splendid, and we could not have asked for a better day!  We thank each of you who was able to make it, and I think you'd join me in saying that the afternoon was informative, fun and memorable.  Many in attendance shared their Fallbrook photos and personal stories, and the warmth and camaraderie in the meeting hall was very special.  We had a display board (thanks Joan), a slide show, educational presentations (thanks Tom), an update on current status / next steps, and refreshments (thanks, Eke).  Several new folks declared their support for the effort, and are now part of the 'Friends' network.  Former farm families, neighbours and supporters all expressed their outrage at the prospect of losing the house, and encouraged us to 'keep fighting the good fight'.  In that regard, we most certainly will!  We have attached here a few photos of the afternoon, compliments of Hilary Dawson; thanks, Hilary!
 
Saturday's get-together was uplifting and encouraging: we battle on!
 
With persistence, Sandy has persuaded CVC to grant us access to the house for our heritage expert.  This has been most difficult to achieve, but it is essential so that we can get a detailed, accurate assessment of the house: its dating, its history of construction, other build characteristics, and its current state.  Tom Murison will tour the house this coming Saturday, and during his on-site examination will take log core samples that he will subsequently analyze to determine the age of the logs and other features.  This is a most exciting moment for the campaign, and we are very fortunate that Tom has joined the team.  We will provide as many up-to-the-moment reports on Tom's findings as soon as they are available.

Here are our immediate next steps:

1) upon receipt of Tom's report, we'll present the findings directly to CVC, and hope they will change their minds about this historic property
2) armed with Tom's report, we will propose to Heritage Halton Hills that the Fallbrook classification on the heritage registry be modified from 'listed' to 'designated' structure
3) should Heritage Halton Hills be unmoved, we will recommend that the Ministry of Culture step in for 'designation' at the provincial level
4) based on Tom's findings and our progress to date, we will ask the Town of Halton Hills for an extension to the June 23, 2008 'deferral date'
5) we will pursue a business plan for the site, based on a premise that we will get an increased level of co-operation / engagement / participation by CVC
 
We remain undeterred in our endeavour to protect, restore and preserve the historic heritage homestead at Fallbrook Farm.  We sincerely value your support which is essential in continuing the struggle, and your encouragement is both energizing and rewarding.
 
Abundant thanks, and we wish you the very best.
 
Warm regards,
 
John Carroll


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