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Owners file to demolish Victoria Annex in midst of heritage proceedings

‘We feel we can do justice to this building,’ said co-owner Ken Vogel, adding he would prefer not to deal with 'complexities' of a heritage designation.
The Victoria School Annex, located at 400 Maple Street. Erika Engel/Collingwood Today

The town is taking a second run at designating the former Victoria Annex School at 400 Maple Street as a heritage property.

At the development and operations services standing committee on Monday night, the committee voted to recommend passing a designation bylaw deeming the property as one of cultural heritage value or interest under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Ken Vogel, one of the property owners, spoke before the committee on the matter on Monday night.

“Really, the only reason I attended tonight is to inform you that we’re still very much opposed to the designation,” said Vogel. “We’re fairly simple people and we’d like to simplify matters. We have experience... in heritage restorations. We feel we can do justice to this building and restore it to its former glory.”

“We would prefer not to have to deal with all the complexities of the heritage designation,” he added.

According to the town's building department, the Victoria Annex owners filed an application for a demolition permit on the building last week

Coun. Yvonne Hamlin noted the building is facing significant problems due to natural deterioration. She clarified with director of planning and building services Adam Farr that, if the property were to be designated, the town could then pay for the repairs should the owner opt not to, with the bill being tacked on to the property tax bill.

“I heard Mr. Vogel say he would do all the right things, but I also noticed that – and I wanted to confirm that I read this correctly -- an application to demolish the building was filed last week by the owner?” asked Hamlin.

“That is correct,” said Farr.

In November 2018, the town put forward a notice of intention to designate the Victoria Annex as a property of cultural heritage value or interest for the first time, however in December of that year, the owner appealed.

The outcome of the appeal came down in October, recommending the proceedings be dismissed and the file closed. According to the Conservation Review Board, no substantive information was provided by the appellant contesting the merits of the cultural heritage value of designation.

The committee voted to recommend passing the designation bylaw deeming the property as one of cultural heritage. The decision will still need to be ratified at the next regular meeting of council.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen is an experienced journalist working for Village Media since 2018, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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