With regards to an Aurora family’s application to rebuild their home on Fleury street, as there has been some confusion regarding the obligations and legislated requirements when it comes to the Heritage Advisory Committee and the role of Council, I provide the following excerpts from the expert staff report to clarify:
“Approval by Council is required for any demolition or alteration of properties within the Town’s Heritage Conservation District. This subject Heritage Permit Application has resulted specifically from a house fire at the property, with there being urgency to move forward in this process due to the unfortunate circumstances faced by the homeowners. The subject Heritage Permit Application was received by the Town and deemed complete via notice of receipt issued on January 27, 2023. As part of the design process for the new build, the homeowner has engaged with staff to ensure conformity with the heritage neighbourhood character and policies of the Northeast Old Aurora Heritage Conservation District Plan. It is a priority for the homeowner to move forward and provide a safe home and living space for their family.”
“Due to the circumstances of a fire at the property and recognizing the need for the homeowner to move forward in the design and build process and provide a safe home for their family, Heritage Permit application approval is proceeding directly to Council for a decision. The new Heritage Advisory Committee for the Council term is not yet meeting, and the final approval authority over Heritage Permits like the proposed ultimately still lies exclusively with Council. The previous Heritage Advisory Committee (term 2018-2022) was also previously made aware of the circumstances of the fire at the subject property, with the property currently also being taped off. Notice to seek members for the new Heritage Advisory Committee has just recently been posted, with initial training to also occur prior to the first meeting being held, and as mentioned there is urgency for the homeowners to be able to move forward after the unfortunate circumstances of the fire.”
“Under Section 42 of the Ontario Heritage Act, a demolition of a property located within a Heritage Conservation District requires Council’s consent. This legislative requirement is implemented in the Town of Aurora through the process of a Heritage Permit Application, which is subject to Council’s approval and can be in consultation with the Heritage Advisory Committee. Council must make a decision on a heritage permit application within 90 days after the notice of receipt is served on the applicant, otherwise Council shall be deemed to have consented to the application. The 90-day deadline for this permit application is April 27, 2023.”
To summarize, the Town is NOT “required” to send the application to the Heritage Advisory Committee first; in instances when the committee is not available due to the election period (as is the case here) during summer months when they do not meet, applications can – and do – come directly to Council for a decision to be made, as Council is the ultimate authority in decision-making for Heritage Matters under the Act.
As I stated previously, ultimately this is about helping an Aurora family get on with their lives. We have an Aurora family that has been displaced for over a year, and they want to start rebuilding their home. This family has suffered tremendous loss, and we need to do what we can to help – not add more and unnecessary red tape.
I am looking forward to Council’s final decision at the March 28th, Council meeting. #leadershipthatgetsthingsdone