I love Port Stanley and I love my old house. But, the club Heritage Port
has made it their mandate to freeze in time the appearance of Port by designating
Heritage Conservation districts - cutting a large swath through the heart of Port,
mainly those areas tourists would see when visiting our fair town.
They want to take away our property rights.
This means that what you see today is to remain the same. The outside of the houses
will no longer belong to the homeowner - from the roof, to the windows and doors,
the cladding on the house, the foundation, the gardens and lawns. It doesn't matter
if your house is old or new; you will have to abide by their rules. Forget about
installing energy efficient windows and doors, forget about replacing roofing materials
with new, longer lasting materials.
If I want to install vinyl siding because I can no longer paint my 1 ½ storey wooden
clapboard house, it will no longer be allowed. If I want to replace my crumpling
asphalt driveway with a cement one, it will not be allowed. I will not be able to
power-wash my house when it becomes dirty. They can tell me what plants to plant
in my garden and if I want to cut down a tree I will have to get a permit. Everything
right down to the artwork I wish to display on the outside of my house will be scrutinized.
You and I will have to go to someone who has no emotional or financial stake in
the property to get permission, and receive the required permit to make any changes.
They say I am the sole owner of my house ... really? If you want a say in my home
that I sweated to pay for and which I pay taxes on, buy it, own it ... because mi
casa es no su casa - my home is not your home.
And here's something to piss off Lynhurst residents ... they say they will give
the affected Port Stanley homeowners grants (if we apply for them and fill in copious
amounts of paperwork) to cover the costs of upkeep (or perhaps low cost loans).
Where do you think the money will come from? Taxes, that's where.
So all the taxpayers in Central Elgin are going to pay. How long will these grants
last? Not long I bet, and then it will be the homeowner's burden to cover the extra
As an example of extra costs, when we were getting quotes for new windows we were
told that the cost of vinyl clad energy efficient windows would be about $600.00
per window. The cost to replace the same windows to meet heritage standards would
be about $1,500.00 per window and have to be special ordered and could take months
to get. We have fourteen windows and the additional cost would be $12,100.00.
They say it won't affect the value of our homes, and in fact, the value may go up.
Port Stanley is not Toronto; it isn't a high demand real estate market. Who wants
to buy a house with major restrictions placed on it?
Council will need to hire people to oversee and enforce these new rules and regulations
- so add another level of government and the costs of running it. They say the permits
will be free - for how long? A new department doesn't run on smiles, employees don't
work for free.
Frankly, I can't believe this plan. Why? Because Port Stanley isn't broken; it's
a beautiful town because people love and care for their homes and gardens. Port
Stanley is not falling into disrepair - if it's not broken why fix it?
They haven't passed the Heritage District plan yet ... but the day they do you'll
be seeing For Sale signs popping up in every Heritage District.
It's not going to make Port a nicer place to live. Wake up people, wake up.
Port Stanley, ON