Last night we had a full house in the Council chambers as Council – once again – debated the matter of the rebuild of the Fleury Street house; but this time, the discussion around the table was much different from the first time around.
As I said previously, ultimately, this is about an Aurora family trying to rebuild their lives after a tragic fire burned their home to the ground over a year ago. A family that has followed the required process, collaborated with our planning staff and heritage consultant on the scale, architecture, and colour of the project and worked to ensure that the proposed rebuild adheres to the heritage district plan. And, as outlined in the staff report before Council, the proposed plan to rebuild complies with the Heritage District Plan of the Town – all design and building features, right down to the colour of the house – meet the Heritage District Plan’s guidelines and planning requirements.
After reading the very thorough report from our Planner and speaking with our staff in advance of the General Committee meeting , I had the information I needed to make a decision. That is why I supported this application for demo and a rebuild the first time it came before council a few weeks ago and again last night..
As residents are aware, at the General Committee meeting a few weeks ago, I along with Councillors Kim and Thompson believed that Council should make a decision that night , and approve the application to allow this family – that has been without a home for over a year – to start the process to rebuild; Council in the majority did not share that opinion, and, voted instead to refer the application to the Heritage Advisory Committee potentially delaying the rebuild by at least 1 – 2 months.
Council had before it last night the same staff report that was before it at General Committee a few weeks ago; no additional information provided on the agenda. However, our expert staff answered a multitude of questions at the meeting; confirming – again – that the project not only met the heritage and planning guidelines but also followed the proper procedures – in particular as it spoke to the approval of a rebuild in the heritage district.
I am grateful that Council took the opportunity to reconsider their decision to refer the application to the Heritage Advisory Committee; taking the time between the General Committee and Council meetings to review the expert staff report and process for approvals of rebuilds in the heritage district, speak to staff and residents and to get the information they needed to make a decision.
That is what is expected of us as elected officials. Review all the information available to make a decision that is in the best interest of our community.
And I am happy to say that, in an unanimous decision, Council approved the demolition and building permit for 60 Fleury Street – the right decision. As a result, an Aurora family that has suffered tremendous loss can proceed with rebuilding their home, and their lives, without further delay. #LeadershipThatGetsThingsDone.