Back story: In November 2013 Town awarded a “peer review” contract to ERA Architects of Toronto. They would be responsible for peer reviewing any Heritage Impact Assessment for 180-194 Main Street South and for any future peer reviews on an “as needed” basis for five years. You can see the documentation here

Taylor breaks the (expected) news.

Regional Councillor John Taylor tweeted this morning:

Clock Tower Heritage Impact Assessment Peer Review is in:

It recommends:

  1. Decrease the height of the proposed new construction by Main Street South by at minimum one storey so that the overall height does not compete with the height of the former Post Office clock tower. The proposed stepback at the upper level should remain to maintain appropriate views of the clock tower from the south.

I have not seen the full report. As soon as I have read it I shall post my comments. But some preliminary thoughts.

From what Taylor says, the peer review seems to be stressing so-called “mitigative measures”. It cannot possibly say that Forrest’s proposals are in line with the Heritage Conservation District policy because, manifestly, they are not. So the peer review will focus on how the most damaging aspects of Forrest’s Clock Tower proposal can best be mitigated. The peer reviewers were never going to say the Clock Tower development should not proceed. That was always something for the fairies.

Planning and architectural consultancies such as ERA operate in a marketplace. They take commissions from developers as well as municipalities. They are not disinterested.

In Leslieville, ERA recommended retaining facades as a way of preserving at least some part of an historic building. But facadism is not appropriate in every case.

Our councillors must not sub-contract their judgement to an outside planning consultancy, no matter how distinguished.

More to follow...

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Newmarket appoints peer reviewer in 2013. Here is the relevant extract of what was expected:


The Corporation of the Town of Newmarket (the Owner) is inviting proposal submissions for the Peer Review of the Heritage Impact Assessment for a zoning by-law amendment application for 178, 180, 184, 188, 190 and 194 Main Street South, including the Clock Tower Inn and the three adjacent buildings to the south. This contract may be utilized by the Owner for additional similar scope assignments (see Item 3 below)

Information on the Clock Tower redevelopment proposal can be found at:”

The Town requires submission of a heritage impact assessment in order to:

? determine compliance with relevant cultural heritage policies

? assist staff with their analysis and report preparation

The rationale for the requirement for the heritage impact assessment arises from: the Ontario Heritage Act; Section 2(d) of the Planning Act; Section 2.6.3 of the Provincial Policy Statement (2005);

The Peer review will evaluate the assessments provided for heritage impact assessment. This review will include, but is not limited to, addressing inconsistencies, factual errors, discrepancies, inappropriate conservation advice not consistent with recognized standards (see below), omissions and misrepresentations.

It is expected that the preferred protective and mitigative measures will be consistent with the Lower Main Street South Heritage Conservation District Plan and recognized standards for heritage conservation, including:

? Link to the District Plan )

? Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties

? Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s Eight Guiding Principles in the Conservation of Historic Properties

? Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s Heritage Conservation Principles for Land Use Planning

? Well-Preserved: The Ontario Heritage Foundation’s Manual of Principles and Practice for Architectural Conservation

? the Parks Canada Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada

? the Appleton Charter for the Protection and Enhancement of the Built Environment

? the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter)


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