InsideHalton.com Feb 17, 2010
CVC vows tax levy if Fallbrook given heritage
of being saddled with future taxes, Halton Hills council has
deferred— yet again— ratification of its decision to place a
heritage designation on Fallbrook Farm.
At last week’s council
meeting, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) Chief Administrative
Officer Rae Horst warned the agency would levy taxes against
Halton Region to pay for any future costs associated with
Fallbrook Farm— something council had been trying to avoid for
the past two and half years.
In September 2007 the CVC, owners of the
Fallbrook property, requested a Town permit to demolish the
rapidly deteriorating empty house on 27 Sideroad, and return the
land to its natural state. Fallbrook, according to the CVC, sits
on 1,500 acres of significant natural heritage lands.
But a quickly-formed
citizens’ group, Friends of Fallbrook Farm (FFF), intervened,
and in the following years has managed to convince Halton Hills
council of the validity of placing a heritage designation on a
portion of the property— the 27 Sideroad single vault bridge,
the 19th century log cabin portion of the house and the mill
designation decision made in December was expected to be
formally ratified by council at its January meeting. But CVC had
something more to say.
Horst told council that the CVC board of
directors confirmed any expenses related to Fallbrook, including
staff time, would be a special levy to Halton Region. CVC can
only levy the Region and not local council.
“The CVC is struggling to carry out its
natural heritage mandate in the face of rampant development
exacerbated by climate change. We have very limited funds and
human resources and our instructions are to concentrate on
natural heritage,” said Horst. “We have “grandfathered”
Belfountain and Limehouse (the lime kilns), and will continue to
work and operate cultural features on those properties.”
Horst said the
CVC is not in the landlord business, but attempts to sever the
property and hand it over to someone else has been thwarted by
the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC). She said the NEC would
only consider a severance if the Town of Halton Hills or the
Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT) accepted the transfer. Halton Hills
council a year ago rejected this opportunity, and the OHT said
they would not accept it unless money to look after it came with
Town CAO Dennis Perlin was working on an “elegant solution” to
the problem— working with the NEC to find a public agency
willing to take the property and then lease it to the Friends of
Horst said if the Town was successful, she
would recommend severance of the house and driveway to her board
of directors, and Halton Region would be levied only with the
staff time and lawyers costs in preparing the transfer.
If the Town is
unsuccessful, and the Town still goes ahead with designation of
the property, the CVC would not appeal the designation to the
Ontario Municipal Board but would levy Halton Region with costs.
These would include any costs related to the designation,
ongoing maintenance, studies, consultants or restoration.
those costs could range between $300,000 to $500,000. She also
told council the CVC has found material in the home dangerous to
the children taking environmental programs at the Environmental
Education Centre located in the front yard of the Fallbrook
house. As well, the house’s condition continues to deteriorate
posing a hazard.
But in a phone call to The Independent Free
Press the next day, Ward 3 Councillor Dave Kentner, the Town’s
representative to Heritage Halton Hills, disputed those figures.
He said the cost would be minimal— “in the hundreds” and
involved only securing the property until a “future generation”
could undertake restoration. He did not believe FFF was capable
of taking on the job.
“With designation, the Town is not imposing
an obligation to restore the building,” said Kentner, but added
that as property owners, the CVC would be required to secure the
house under the Town’s property standards bylaw.
“Future generations will
address Fallbrook,” he said, “but not us at this time.” ... and
referring to the CVC, he added, “The Town is not in the business
of burdening property owners with a demand to restore designated
Council is now scheduled to address the question of designation,
now with the wrinkle of the CVC threat, at Monday’s (Feb. 22)
March 17, 2010
Decision on Fallbrook Farm expected June 14
A final decision on the heritage designation
of Fallbrook Farm has now been delayed until the June 14 council
Discussions between the Town, Credit Valley
Conservation (CVC), Friends of the Fallbrook, the Niagara
Escarpment Commission and other agencies are still ongoing to
find an alternative approach to preserving the 19th century
Council had voted to begin proceedings
to place a heritage designation on the property, located in
north Halton Hills, but delayed ratification in January after
the CVC warned the Town that it would levy taxpayers any future
In the first picture we
see Bessie McKay, born of the Sinclair clan. She married David
McKay and is here seen with her third child, Rachel. David was
born in the Fallbrook home and they were married at the
Ballinafad church. They settled in Owen Sound. Tragically in
1921,Bessie died shortly after this picture was taken. After
the death of her mother, Rachel visited Fallbrook every summer
where we see her sitting with a friend on the doorstep on a fine
summer day. The pictures have been preserved and reproduced by
Nancy Sinclair. Many thanks to Nancy.