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
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.