Cynthia Gamble - Dec 23,
2009 - 2:46 PM
Fallbrook avoids demolition with Heritage designation
Submitted photoSubmitted photoFallbrook
avoids...The Silver Creek Bridge on 27 Sideroad by the farm is a
single vault bridge and “it is a rare and breathtaking example
of a true masonry arch bridge”, says Heritage Halton
Hills.12It’s taken more than two years, a lot of meetings, phone
calls and e-mails, and money out of their own pockets, but
Friends of Fallbrook Farm finally achieved one of their goals— a
heritage designation on portions of the 27 Sideroad property.
In September 2007, Credit Valley
Conservation, owners of the property, applied to the Town for a
demolition permit for the deteriorating empty building plagued
by vandalism and drugs users, and to return the lands to its
natural state. Three months later, a former childhood resident,
living in Milton, asked and got a six-month deferral of a
council decision to deconstruct the house (careful dismantling
and move to another property). Her goal was to form a citizens’
group to save the old building and use it as a heritage
Six months later, although on paper their membership had grown
to 150, the newly set up Friends of Fallbrook Farm (FFF)
remained unincorporated and had no clear business plan for their
idea, but did have a report by a heritage expert stressing the
property’s heritage value. Based on that report, and a
subsequent one, the Town’s heritage advisory committee (Heritage
Halton Hills) reversed its earlier position and now called on
the Town to designate the property.
“We are turning a corner,” said Sandy
McKay, FFF member and descendant of one of the original owners.
“There’s no question it (the farmhouse) will not be demolished.”
At its December meeting, Halton Hills
council voted to approve a Heritage Halton Hills report calling
for the designation of Fallbrook Farm, including the log cabin
portion of the house, mill site and Silver Creek bridge.
The west side of the home is the original
19th century log cabin built with squared, red pine rough bark
logs, and is one of the few remaining structures of this type
left in Halton Hills. The additions to the home have no design
or heritage value, stated the HHH in its report to council.
The Silver Creek Bridge on 27 Sideroad by
the farm is a single vault bridge and “it is a rare and
breathtaking example of a true masonry arch bridge”, said HHH.
In a related matter, council voted to get more public input on a
staff recommendation to close 27 Sideroad to vehicular traffic
at the bridge, due to its increasingly deteriorating state.
HHH says the mill site “has the potential
to clearly demonstrate the evolution of a typical example of the
community’s first industrial complex... and has remained largely
undisturbed since it was abandoned.”
Acton resident Anne McIntyre, a FFF member,
spoke to Halton Hills council, saying the whole Fallbrook site
is important, as it represents 500 years of history on two
hectares. She said FFF would like the First Nations history
explored as well.
While FFF member Jim Kirkwood said
“hallelujah and bravo,” about the council decision, he expressed
disappointment that the whole home was not designated.
But Ward 3 Councillor
Dave Kentner, a HHH member, said the partial designation
preserves the essential historical aspect— the log cabin— and
gives FFF flexibility and options when renovating the rest of
the home for future uses of the farm.
“The history of the Fallbrook property does
go back to early North American time.... These are national
treasures we’re talking about here,” said Kentner, adding
researched reports back up the designation request. “Should we
deny the facts of our heritage over fears and conjecture about
the (financial) future?”
However, the one thorn in FFF’s side for
the past two years has been the lack of a business plan,
acceptable to the Town and the CVC, said McKay— a subject that
was brought up by several councillors who either opposed or
reluctantly supported designation at the December meeting.
McKay said FFF has joined forces with a
University of Guelph business management professor and student
who will now advise on and polish a new plan. The duo will also
help the group apply for a Trillium grant, he said.
Some councillors also worried about
Kirkwood’s statement that, “We trust the CVC following tonight’s
designation, and who are the owners of this site, will proceed
in good order and good time to restore and develop the site. The
Friends of Fallbrook are prepared to assist them if we are
invited to do so, provided our contribution is taken seriously
and respected.... We call on the council and especially the CVC
to preserve all the features of the site that are deemed of
historical and educational value.”
Ward 2 Councillor Joan Robson, the Town’s
CVC representative, reiterated yet again to the group that the
CVC’s mandate is natural heritage— not built heritage— and
although CVC won’t demolish or deconstruct the building— despite
the fact it continues to deteriorate— this is a project that FFF
will have to take on as lead developers.
“I think we’re going through the
motions...because I know CVC can’t afford it, we can’t afford it
and we don’t see a group strongly spearheading this,” she said.
Ward 3&4 Regional Councillor Jane Fogal
suggested the group lease the property from the CVC.
“If we move ahead with
designation is your group prepared to go it alone with a lease?
Do you understand you’re on your own here... without the CVC as
Supporting to proceed with designation were Mayor Rick Bonnette,
and Councillors Fogal, Kentner, Moya Johnson, Bob Inglis, Jon
Hurst and Clark Somerville. Voting against were Councillors
Robson, Bryan Lewis, John Duncan and Mike O’Leary.
Kirkwood said the group was prepared to
raise the funds, “but we don’t have any rich donors at the
moment, and we’ll need a lot of small donors.... We need a
trigger and hopefully this (the designation) is the trigger.”
He added FFF is looking to the CVC as the
property owner to support them on grant applications.
Kirkwood said FFF members have already
spent $20,000 of their own money.
Kirkwood would not commit to the lease idea
at this time. He said the group’s next step would be to call a
meeting of the community sometime in the early part of 2010,
inviting people who live within the community to work on the
project, sit on the board and be prepared to sign a lease. The
majority of the key organizers from day one, live outside Halton
Hills, including McKay who lives in Nunavut and Kirkwood, a
“It would depend on community support, and we have had not that,
to be frank,” Kirkwood said.
Meanwhile FFF members continue to collect
information on the heritage of the area, and on Nov. 29, the
group presented certificates to 30 “elders” who have given the
group an oral history of the Fallbrook/Ballinafad area.
McKay said it was a
celebration of the rich history of this community, which until
up to now had not been fully recorded.
Cynthia Gamble Jan 20, 2010 - 4:15 PM
Fallbrook heritage designation deferred by
Town after threat of appeal from CVC
of an appeal prompted Halton Hills council to defer
ratification of its December decision to proceed with a
heritage designation on the Fallbrook Farm property at its
meeting Monday night.
Council was supposed to ratify its
decision made last month to begin the designation process on
the log cabin portion of the home, the mill site and the
Silver Creek bridge on 27 Sideroad. Credit Valley
Conservation (CVC) owns the property but a citizens’ group,
Friends of Fallbrook Farm, has been fighting for the last
two years to save it from demolition.
However, that ratification has been
deferred to the Monday, Jan. 25 council meeting when a CVC
delegation will address council.
At a meeting in December, CVC directors
directed its staff to register a formal appeal of the Town
decision under Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act. The
CVC resolution also directed staff to secure and monitor the
building, but stated no more money or staff time would be
used to pursue restoration or operation of the house.
According to a CVC staff report, “CVC
and the Friends of Fallbrook have been unsuccessful in
establishing a partnership with common goals and objectives.
have made a sincere effort; however, more than two years has
passed with no measurable success. With a large set of
priority projects and limited human and financial resources
to meet assigned targets, the recommendation is to curtail
any further work on the development and implementation of
the Fallbrook Farmhouse Heritage Project.”
THE HILLS AND DALES OF FALLBROOK CONTINUE
If you read the first article from the Georgetown
Independant Press, you see confirmed the news of the
designation which elated most of us. We maintain that
the frame structure should be designated as well and
will work towards that. If financing is found than this
would be guaranteed.
We than received the
encouraging news of support and financial help from the
Scottish Studies Foundation which had been spearheaded
by Alastair McIntyre(see update 34) We than read by
chance the following article in the community newspaper,
the Acton Tanner and our celebration was shortlived.now
read the follow up article in Georgetown Independant
Press. Better still,read the original resolution voted
by the CVC at the same meeting on December 11,2009 where
we made a presentation and were the first to inform
their board that the site had been designated. HHMC
reconvened on the question of Fallbrook on January 25
especially to hear retroactively the delegation from CVC.
General Information Package
January 25, 2010
<Page 141 of 258>
Re: Fallbrook Farm House
At its meeting of December 11,
2009 the CVC Board of Directors approved the following
WHEREAS Credit Valley Conservation
(CVC) retained McGillivray Architects to conduct a
comprehensive evaluation and to prepare a Heritage
Impact Statement for the house located at 14513 27'n
WHEREAS the Heritage Impact
Statement concluded that, although the squared-log
construction style may have some significance, necessary
repairs to essential services make future occupation
WHEREAS Halton Hills Town'Council
deferred the decision to deconstruct the house fţr an
extended period of time to allow Credit Valley
Conservation and the Friends of Fallbrook time to
develop alternative options; and
WHEREAS at a Town of Halton Hills
Council meeting on December 8, 2008, the Council decided
to not accept transfer of title of the farm house
located at 14513 27'n Sideroad; and
WHEREAS the Friends of Fallbrook
have been meeting and pursuing funding options but to
date are not able to secure funds for renovation and
Credit Valley Conservation is not able to allocate any
further resources, human or financial, to this cultural
heritage project, and
WHEREAS no other agency has come
forward to assume the renovation costs and associated
the past two years CVC and the Friends of Fallbrook have
been unable to find
a viable option agreeable by all parties and without an
approved business plan and without secured funds ţr a
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the
report entitled, "The Fallbrook Farm House and CVC
Resource Levels" be received and appended as Schedule
'B' to the minutes of this meeting; and
THAT the Board of Directors of
Credit Valley Conservation direct CVC staff to continue
to secure and monitor the Fallbrook Farm House and
continue to assume all risk and liability; and further
THAT CVC staff allocate no further
financial or human resources from its limited
conservation budget to pursue the restoration and
operation of the Fallbrook House.
RESOLVED THAT the CVC
Board of Directors directs staff to register a formal
appeal under Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act with
the Town of Halton Hills for the designation of the
Much can be said about what has been
done and not done. Our trillium application has been
awaiting a support letter from CVC for 18 months. There
is no mention of the Murison report, the definitive
analysis of the site. We were told many times that CVC
would not speak either for or against designation. They
have now resolved to appeal. They have confirmed in
writing that they would not demolish the Fallbrook home.
so why prevent designation now? And by the back door?
The minutes of the council meeting are
not yet available but the FoF were present. CVC has even
said that they would tax HHMC to pay the law fees to
appeal. The decision has been deferred to February 22.
The Friends of Fallbrook have been
travelling the hills and dales for over 2 years.We are
growing and reinvigorated and are working to move the
project forward.We meet in an enlarged group on february
13 to determine our plan. If you are interested in
working with us,please contact us through
Many thanks, Sandy McKay Friends