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Fallbrook Update 35


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 education centre.

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 a contributor?”

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 Toronto resident.

“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

The threat 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.

“Both parties 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.

                                                                              HALTON HILLS MUNICIPAL COUNCIL

      

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 resolutions:

125/09

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 Sideroad, and

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 unfeasible; and

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 liabilities. and

WHEREAS over 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 defined plan,

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.

126/09

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 Fallbrook Farmhouse.

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 fallbrook@live.ca.

Many thanks, Sandy McKay  Friends of Fallbrook 


Return to Scottish Studies Foundation Index Page

 


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