by Councillor Shaun McLaughlin
After listening to concerns from some business people last week about the proposed heritage by-law, several councillors worked with staff, the heritage committee and a heritage district expert from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Andrew Jeanes, to reword parts of the by-law. The principal change is a clearly defined mechanism under Section 33 of the Ontario Heritage Act that allows heritage-building owners to appeal to Council for an exemption.
The rewritten by-law will come before Council on September 16. The text in the current agenda is out of date.
The purpose of the by-law is to prevent any major construction or demolition within central Almonte while the heritage district study we initiated this summer is underway. The final study and recommendations are due by the end of March 2015.
At the Council meeting this Tuesday, a councillor will move to postpone the vote on the by-law until the October 7 Council meeting. (That will be the last Council meeting before the election.)
I support the delay. The three-week wait will provide councillors and residents an opportunity to study the revised wording.
This is a good example of how local government should work: residents raise a red flag, the Town listens, staff advise an alternate course, and Council responds.