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It is time to put an end to Heritage Districts
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It is time to put to an end the idea of "Heritage Districts" for Port Stanley.

It is time for our council to focus their time and our money on the harbour lands - on dredging the harbour, fixing the pier and lighthouse, and improving the beaches. Our council and a small group of people have been too focused on taking away our democratic property rights, and I can't understand why?

I do not support this plan, and after reading the update by the Heritage Port Steering Committee it appears that I am not alone, no matter how they try to convince us that there is. Otherwise why the major cut backs? Port Stanley is a wonderful town and it is just fine and will be just fine without the interference of Heritage Port.

Let our town move forward, do not turn it into a stagnant time capsule. To be a healthy town we need to develop and this can be managed by the existing Building Department.

If Heritage Port had its way the Inn on the Harbour, Bob Henderson's house (the multi-level house on Main St.), the three storey Harbour House at the end of Main Street, and the three storey building beside Mickey's Boat House would not exist. All of these buildings add character to our town.

Heritage buildings exist whose owners have asked and now receive tax support. Why not allow owners of other buildings (if it is their wish) to go through the due process of "heritage" designation without having whole sections of town locked down in time.

"We do not wish to cut off all future development, but rather, to make sure that all new building in the central core fits in with the present look and feel of the area." This statement in fact states the opposite, by adding the word "all" in the sentence. It therefore is their wish to cut off some, a little, or most future development. How much do they wish to cut off? They must control development, they must maintain the look and feel of the area. So, it really is not about "Heritage" after all.

For all their so called support they have had to make major cuts to appease disgruntled homeowners who do not wish to lose control over their homes. Cutting back the mandatory restrictions to mainly Colbourne, Bridge and Main Street, while telling those in the other proposed districts that "it would be in the best interest of property owners to follow the guidelines to maintain property values." and thereby leaving it open for these other districts to be reinstated at a later date.

"Heritage Conservation District by the committee has always been to preserve the look and feel of Port Stanley without overly infringing on the rights of property owners". Excuse me, but the moment you tell me what I can and cannot do with my property YOU ARE overly infringing on my democratic rights!

It is all about control, and if we allow them to turn even a small section of town into a time capsule they have their toe in the door and the ability to expand their power. How do we stop something once it becomes the law and who needs another level of government?

"Certainly, council would not approve a Heritage Conservation District which is not supported by a majority of the residents of the proposed district." My reply is - How about the approval of all the taxpayers in Central Elgin. We are the people who are going to be paying for it, in the present and in the future - not just in taxes but in loss of control of what we envision Port Stanley's future to be.

"The three authors of this update feel strongly that a Heritage Conservation District in the commercial core of the village will ensure that Port Stanley remains a beautiful little village which will prove to be a magnet for tourists, visitors and new residents alike, both now and for many years to come."

Quite frankly, Heritage Port and the Heritage Conversation District Steering Committee, Port Stanley was doing just fine without you. Everyone in Port Stanley has been working hard to improve their neighbourhoods, we welcome the future. It is not up to the few to decide if quaint, cute, and stagnant is the future to untold riches.

Elizabeth Hudson
Port Stanley, ON


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