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Emco Corp. is fighting the city’s move to list its Dundas Street building as a heritage property, and is taking the scrap to the city’s planning and environment committee.
Saying the listing will cause “harm” to Emco, a letter from Siskinds, the law firm, stated the interior and exterior of the building at 1108 Dundas St. have been so altered, its heritage value is lost.
“For the city to take this step absent any research . . . causes significant harm to our clients,” said a letter from Siskinds partner, Paula Lombardi, on the committee agenda for the Monday meeting.
On July 18, the city sent a letter to Emco stating it wanted to add the building to its inventory of heritage properties.
“We note that this recommendation was made without contacting our client and absent any investigation into the building,” she added.
During more than 20 years there has been so much work done to the structure, “there are no identifying features left of the original building design.”
Lombardi did not detail what Emco’s plans are for the site.
But the city has only placed the building on a list of properties with heritage value and has 60 days to evaluate it and decide whether it will be designated, said Jim Yanchula, city heritage planner.
The city’s local advisory committee on heritage (LACH) recommended it be listed, but that holds little sway in preserving the site, he added.
“It does not prohibit (demolition).” Yanchula said. “Siskinds is suggesting it compromises their (Emco’s) position there,” but it does not.
Earlier this summer, Emco finalized plans to build a new 2,800-square-metre office at 2150 Oxford St. E., near Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Its Dundas Street neighbourhood is targeted for redevelopment by the city, part of the city’s McCormick area plan, where mixed use, residential and commercial development may take place. The city sees the Emco building as another property to be part of the redevelopment plan.
Also on the committee agenda, the city is fighting a request to demolish the former M.B. McEachren elementary school at 4402 Colonel Talbot Rd., now listed on the inventory of heritage resources.
The school was built in 1925 and declared surplus by the Thames Valley District school board in 2010. It was sold to its present owner, the Lambeth Health Organization, in 2015. In 2016, the city received notice of the owner’s intention to demolish the building.
But staff wants the building saved, a request supported by a report from LACH that singled out “the north, west and south facade of the 1925 portion of the building” as significant.
The matter went to the Conservation Review Board, a provincial body, which recommended it not be designated, but the final decision remains with the city.
“It has heritage attributes, it has met the criteria Ontario heritage legislation stipulates,” said Yanchula.
He pointed to the school’s facade and specifically its “architectural attributes, its beaux arts styling, it merits designation.”
The Lambeth Health Organization wants to demolish the building to construct a medical centre.
The report to the city committee states the school “is a significant cultural heritage resource. It is an integral link in demonstrating the history and evolution of Lambeth as a community. It is recommended that the 1925 portion of the school, the original Lambeth Continuation School, be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act,” it states.
“No amount of commemoration or interpretation can replicate or replace the contributions of a significant heritage resource.”
As for Emco, LACH sees value in the building as it is one of 15 properties that have industrial heritage attributes identified by the
The Dundas Street building is its head office. It has another property on Leathorne Avenue, a distribution centre and warehouse.
Emco Corp. opened in 1906 as a small plumbing store in London under the name Empire Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
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