Avon Crest MUST be designated, under the Ontario Heritage Act.
“The only protection against demolition is designation (and even that is not absolute),” says former Heritage Stratford chair, Patrick O’Rourke
City Council must listen to its own heritage committee and city staff. Both endorsed designation.
Avon Crest belongs to the people of Stratford. We should be consulted about its future.
Repurpose and re-develop
The Mayor and City Council must work with Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance to form strategic partnerships and to identify a developer of vision who can repurpose and re-develop this historic building and site.
In London, Ontario, Vision Soho, an alliance of several organizations, is currently addressing that city’s housing needs by rehabilitating the historic Victoria Hospital (1875). A total of over 650 units will be created. Why can’t Stratford be this forward-looking?
Local examples of Responsible and creative renovation.
– The Bradshaw Lofts (1903), 245 Downie Street
Heritage Stratford, James Anderson Award (2019)
– Edison’s (1845), 48 Ontario Street
– Perth County Inn (1868), 4 Huron Street
Heritage Stratford, James Anderson Award (2022)
– Gallery Stratford (formerly the old Pumphouse, 1883), 54 Romeo Street
Avoid environmental harm
Unnecessary demolition contributes to climate change.
The “embodied carbon” of existing buildings accounts for 11% of the world’s carbon footprint, which contributes to the Greenhouse gases causing climate change.
New construction will needlessly release still more CO2 into the atmosphere. According to to the Portland Cement Association, the production of one cubic meter of concrete emits about 181 kgs of carbon (https://www.cement.org/docs/default-source/th-paving-pdfs/sustainability/carbon-foot-print.pdf). Even if Avon Crest was replaced by a more energy efficient building, it would still take as long as 50-55 years to offset the carbon debt created through demolition.
Ed van der Maarel, Principal Heritage Architect, Partner and CEO at a+LiNK Architecture, pointed out that “designated materials” such as asbestos and lead must first be removed whether or not Avon Crest is demolished. “There is no cost saving to demolishing and removing designated materials compared with restoration.”
Demolishing such a massive building contravenes both Stratford’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan and its Official Plan, which “encourages the rehabilitation of older buildings and recognizes the significance of heritage landmarks and their role in enhancing their surroundings.” Why ask citizens to recycle when corporations can pollute at will?