Metropolis council to hunt authorized recommendation on Avon Crest property

Metropolis council to hunt authorized recommendation on Avon Crest property

Delegates passionately petitioned for heritage designation on town’s first hospital, which is in disrepair and will face the wrecking ball

Mere hours after the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance shocked many with an announcement {that a} new long-term care facility will probably be constructed on the Avon Crest property, delegates passionately petitioned for heritage designation for town’s first hospital, which is dealing with the wrecking ball.

The gallery at Stratford Metropolis Council was packed on Monday evening after the sooner information that HPHA and Revera Canada have plans for a 128-bed facility throughout the road from Stratford Basic Hospital, to be constructed after the circa. 1891 hospital is torn down. 

Delegates and members of the Save Avon Crest group need the constructing saved, and a heritage designation and subsequent retrofit of the ageing construction so it may be used once more have been introduced because the favoured choice to metropolis council. 

Some introduced up examples from surrounding communities – from London to Caledon – the place historic buildings have been part of the answer to the various issues these communities confronted. 

From reasonably priced housing to different healthcare companies, Avon Crest was emphatically petitioned as a constructing that can provide extra to the group, if correctly restored and maintained. A few of the causes mentioned for saving Avon Crest embrace environmental impacts, saving greater than 100,000 kg of embodied carbon from getting into the ambiance whether it is demolished.

Delegate Howard Shubert, of Save Avon Crest group, identified that within the Metropolis’s strategic priorities, the surroundings is a giant one. Within the Metropolis’s official plan, they particularly encourage the rehabilitation of older buildings. 

Cambria Ravenhill, chair of Heritage Stratford, defined that to be designated as heritage, buildings should meet two of 9 standards. Avon Crest meets seven of these standards factors, a singular distinction, she mentioned. 

Ravenhill understands that the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA), homeowners of the property, want to demolish the constructing to construct a long-term care dwelling.

“That’s wanted as properly,” Ravenhill mentioned in regards to the proposed LTC dwelling. “However I can’t for the lifetime of me perceive why it is advisable tear down a constructing to do it. It’s ridiculous. That’s like so 1980. It’s not what we do in 2023.”

A lot of delegates, together with Ravenhill, referred to as consideration to the big grounds of the Avon Crest website, which incorporates a lot of buildings. Many referred to as for the hospital to be saved and utilized in a rezone and redesign which can embrace an LTC dwelling.

Ravenhill and some others identified {that a} heritage designation wouldn’t imply demolition is just not doable. It might imply that council can be the entity to determine that. 

Metropolis council to hunt authorized recommendation on Avon Crest property
Andrew Williams, CEO of the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, speaks on behalf of demolishing Avon Crest. Connor Luczka/StratfordToday

Andrew Williams, president and CEO of the HPHA, mentioned that after nearly two hours of delegates talking in regards to the HPHA, the position of the alliance was maybe being mischaracterized. 

“We’ve been characterised as not doing any homework,” Williams mentioned. “I can guarantee you that an terrible lot of thought has gone into the place we’re immediately.”

To refurbish the constructing, knowledgeable estimator has quoted the undertaking at over $24 million. 

The HPHA has been open to many plans, he mentioned, however in his 30 years with the alliance, not as soon as have they been approached a few refit plan. That features the final 18 months when the location has been “headline information,” as he characterised it. 

Williams clarified that even nonetheless, no different critical plan has been supplied to him or the HPHA about saving the constructing. 

“I’ve a lot confidence within the native improvement group … in the event that they thought it is sensible to redevelop a constructing they might come ahead. They haven’t executed that however we did do it. We went by way of it. We now have follow-up discussions with architects and builders … the collective suggestions we’ve had is if you need the location developed then it must be rebuilt.”

He additionally clarified that because of the place of the constructing on the location, Avon Crest within the center, there is not correct room to maintain the constructing and match extra constructions. 

The HPHA stay in dialog with Revera and there are nonetheless extra steps to take, he mentioned. 

On condition that the matter was being delivered to council, the alliance felt it essential to announce the plan.

After the delegations, Coun. Brad Beatty put ahead a movement to attend for authorized counsel on ramifications ought to they transfer ahead with a heritage designation. 

Coun. Beatty cited Invoice 23, The Extra Properties Constructed Quicker Act, when he put ahead the movement. He later instructed StratfordToday that the rationale for calling consideration to that exact invoice is due to the way it amends the Ontario Heritage Act and due to how new it’s. His intent was to place a pause on the method and see whether or not or not designating the hospital heritage is even doable beneath Invoice 23. 

Previous to council, an in-camera assembly was held which included an merchandise pertaining to a authorized opinion on heritage designation. Because it was a non-public assembly, topic to solicitor-client privilege, Coun. Beatty couldn’t remark additional on the substance of that assembly. 

Coun. Cody Sebben put ahead a movement to ship a letter to the HPHA to point council would oppose demolition of the location, although that movement failed.

Williams mentioned as soon as authorities approvals are secured, the settlement with Revera will create elevated native capability whereas enhancing hospital care by releasing up beds for sufferers ready for surgical procedures or admission within the emergency division. 

Tenders for demolition shut this week and assuming there are not any points that come up, and last approvals are secured, demolition of the property may begin in late spring or early summer season, Williams mentioned. 

“The precise improvement when it comes to long-term care is a complete different course of unto its personal. It is going to take a while earlier than we’ve got shovels within the floor for a brand new construct.”

In between the announcement being made and town council assembly on Monday, Williams mentioned the timing was proper to let the group know in regards to the plans.

“We felt with the visibility that that is having in the neighborhood now, the very fact we’re going again to council (tonight) to debate the heritage scenario, we actually wished all of our playing cards on the desk so individuals are conscious what’s going on and what conversations are happening. We now have mentioned all alongside…we need to leverage that land into one thing that brings worth to this group from a well being and wellness perspective. This actually does that in our view.” 

A photograph of the historic Avon Crest hospital on Monday. The HPHA introduced a brand new long-term care dwelling will probably be constructed on website. Connor Luczka/StratfordToday

 – with information from Paul Cluff/StratfordToday