Unlike the City of Brantford where they’ve recently voted to demolish 40 heritage buildings in their historic downtown core, the Town of Collingwood has increasingly shown it’s respect for our heritage assets.
On February 8th, council passed its first Heritage Tax Relief By-law. Under this program, owners of significant heritage buildings can apply for a 10% refund on the municipal and education levy portions of their tax bill. The Town has already identified qualifying properties and owners of these will be sent a notice advising them of this opportunity.
Collingwood also has another program that makes heritage grants available for the repair and restoration of heritage features of a building with funding of 50% up to a maximum of $3,000.00.
Both of these programs encourage heritage property owners to restore and maintain the heritage values of their buildings now and into the future. As heritage is now very much recognized as having economic and environmental benefits, these programs make good sense to me.
Increasingly, we’ve seen a trend toward heritage preservation and restoration in Collingwood and I suspect much of this is due to the excellent work of both the Heritage Advisory Committee and the local branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. The controversial demolition of a landmark building a few years ago, brought the issue to the public forefront and heritage became a substantial issue during the last election campaign. In recent years, we’ve seen more buildings designated as heritage buildings such as the old Connaught School/wellness centre on Napier Street.
There are a number of examples through-out the town of major heritage projects such as the one now taking place at the old “Ditson” house beside the Royal Bank on Hurontario Street. The Joseph Lawrence house renovation was truly a labour of love and learning for the owners as was a smaller restoration project at 282 Ontario Street. Perhaps the most prominent example though would be the outstanding restoration taking place of the Tremont Building beside the new library at Simcoe and St., Paul Streets. The added layers of siding and paint have been removed to reveal the original brick work and architectural features. Windows were replaced and resized to the original ones and, the roof top parapets and 8 chimneys have been rebuilt. I think this project, more than any other, has taught us a big lesson about what IS possible and why it matters. Even those who called for the building to be demolished are now it’s greatest enthusiasts.
Marg Scheben-Edey is a Broker with RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, Brokerage in beautiful Collingwood, ON. With three decades of experience, Marg is a leader in the local real estate marketplace and is ready to help guide both Buyers and Sellers in achieving their real estate goals. Email Marg