Imagine coming home from work one day and finding the home next door to yours being torn down without any advanced notice to you. That was the scenario in the minds of the people that live in the area of Glasgow Street North between London Road and Suffolk Street, and they were so concerned that they formed a new neighbourhood group called the Neighbours of Glasgow Street North Community Action Group. Even though the decision had been made to approve the demolition of the historic home, the members of this new group were determined to have their say, better late than never.
On February 8, less than a week after the residents received notice that 202 Glasgow would be soon be torn down and construction on a new dwelling would begin, the new group had sent out a press release to register their dismay; despite the fact that the plan for 202 was approved at a council meeting on November 9, 2015, this was the first they were hearing about it.
In fact, because of the City of Guelph’s deeply problematic approval process, it was only last week - months after the application was approved - that the neighbourhood learned of the planned demolition; and, had it not been for the fact that the owner of 202 Glasgow Street North is seeking variances, which must pass through the Committee of Adjustments, the residents might never have been informed of the plans.
With only a couple of weeks to prepare, they tried to cut the plans off at the pass at the Committee of Adjustment, but now they're being forced to take it all the way to the Ontario Municipal Board, itself a problematic agency, but it's now the group's best chance to get the say they should have had to being with. It's important to note that the Neighbours of Glasgow Street North are not against tearing the house down, nor are they advocating for a specific type of new development to be built there, rather they just wish to be included in the conversation. It's their neighbourhood, and like any members of a neighbourhood they want a say in the development of its future.
In this week's edition of the Guelph Politicast, I talk to Laura Bolton, Daniel Cabena and Mary Cabena of the Neighbours of Glasgow Street North Community Action Group, and get them to tell their story as they attempt to advocate not for a specific outcome, but to advocate for the proper execution of the process.
The theme music for Guelph Politicast is provided by Crazy Pills and their song "Break It Down" courtesy of Free Music Archive.
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