Thank you for this opportunity to speak to your membership.
I ran for council in the 2014 election and I will begin with an extract from my campaign of 2014.
“Our identity should not be lost. We don’t want to become just a subdivision on the side of a highway. The rich history of our town and unique architecture of our older buildings should be preserved, and whenever possible integrated into new development projects.” - Ian Clark 2014
I stand by what I said then and believe it today.
If asked do I value historical buildings my answer would be yes. I appreciate the character they add to a street or neighborhood. The physical link to our past that they provide and frankly I like the look. I am especially fond of 22 Church Street for the amazing masonry work.
When presented with the scenario of a historic building occupying a site that is being considered for a new development (which I believe will be common in the future), I would always look to see if the historic building could be re-purposed or renovated to suit the intended purpose of the new project. If that were not possible then I would seek to incorporate the building into the new development. If the above options were not possible then I would look for the possibility of relocating the building.
I do not wish to evade the questions you have asked me in regards to my priority in protecting heritage buildings. However, it is difficult to do so without other options to weigh this question against, such as:
● Preserving green spaces in our community;
● Creating facilities that allow our citizens to maintain their physical and mental health via exercise or artistic expression;
● Opportunities to enhance our business districts to stimulate the local economy;
● Preventing over-development of established neighbourhoods;
Preservation of historic buildings would have a place in my list of priorities above. I cannot assign a number out of 10 that would rank preservation in relation to those priorities. I would need to weigh the merits of each case individually.
It would be disingenuous to state that preservation of heritage sites is my number one focus for our town right now. I can however, sincerely say, that I value their existence in our community, I appreciate the role they play in maintaining our nice small town aesthetic and that I would always do what I could to protect them.