Council corrects a mistake - mumbles an apology and takes 600 Brant off the Heritage Registry.

By Pepper Parr

November 30th, 2022



I was a very short meeting – 27 minutes

And unless we misread the background of the room each member of council was sitting in – there wasn’t one member of Council sitting in the Council Chamber.
Councillors Nisan and Galbraith were reported as absent.

The Special Meeting of council was to: hear a report on the potential demolition of heritage registered properties at 600 Brant Street who had a demolition permit application and a site plan approval application for construction of a new 3-storey office building.

Staff cautiously estimated that 600 Brant Street could be demolished any time after November 29, 2022. Demolition can only be avoided if City Council first consults its municipal heritage committee then issues a notice of intention to designate the properties. Thus the emergency meeting of the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee (the “HBAC”) and a special Council meeting.

The failure, and it was an abysmal failure on the part of the planning department, was in notifying the owner of the property that there were heritage issues.

That was compounded by the fact that letters sent to the owner of the property were sent via regular mail to an address where there was no one in the house.

The meeting this evening, Tuesday was to clean up the mess.

Unfortunately, no one, except for ward 2 Councillor Kearns offered an apology – she did mumble the words.

The Staff report read: The purpose of this report is to provide Council with analysis, background information and recommendations regarding the potential demolition of heritage registered properties at 600 Brant Street. The owner of 600 Brant Street has submitted a demolition permit application and a site plan approval application for construction of a new 3-storey office building.

Shahab Tabash

Shahab Tabash the business man who owned the property and wanted to demolish the building and build a three storey dental facility delegated to Council saying:

“So dear mayor and councillors. Thanks for having me back to delegate one last time hopefully.

“Tonight, I wanted to be present to ask directly that our property is 600 brain Street, be removed from the Heritage registry as per the recommendations of the Heritage landscape study. That would I assume we’re all in? We’re all holding. That was done on November 17 2020. To the 27th page report that was done since the last time we saw each other in the case of 600 brain does not meet the thresholds to be considered as a heritage site.

“And as you can see in I hope you’ve seen in the report it says quote unquote, based on the available information, it’s determined that 600 Brant Street does not sufficiently meet the criteria contained in the Ontario heritage act. It’s my understanding that the heritage Burlington advisory committee that met last week is also recommending that our property be removed from the Heritage registry.

“I want to speak just quickly about the impact of being placed on a heritage registry and want to speak just quickly about the impact of being placed on heritage registry and of the city’s protocol for doing so. And to drive home. What I hope is an important point. Mayor Mead Ward and the entire council your extraordinary power and your decisions have a very profound effect on local businesses and on local families. And to me it really seemed like that decision of July 2022 to add us to the registry would have would have been better done if the studies would have been done before the designations and as a property owner as someone who’s very diligent and following up and making sure that we met all of the requirements of the city.

“ It was quite shocking to be placed on that list without you know that there’s some debate as to how we were notified or if we were notified, but without any study. And I can’t overstate the extraordinary costs. And sleepless nights that this puts on the local business owners and local families. And Council Chairman wasn’t wrong when at the last Council meeting when he stated that one of the steps of the thing happens especially in the backdrop of a global recession, real estate issues increasing interest rates point in time where local businesses are under extraordinary pressure. Decision to heritage without a study being done is it was extremely stressful.

“And I hope that tonight with the recommendation of the heritage committee and the study that’s been done that you look at removing us from that list. As a local business we really have committed our time and our money and our futures to this and I just hope that in the future that communication can be better. So the local business owners and I understand that I’m a local person, I want appropriate heritage designation. I want appropriate growth. But I think that it could have been done better. I won’t take up too much more of your time. I thank you for the opportunity and I ask that you follow the recommendation of the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee and the heritage study and removing us from the from the Heritage registry. Thank you for your time.”

The property can now be demolished and replaced with a three story dental facility.

The building located at 600 Brant Street was constructed in 1912, shortly after the subdivision of land in that area from farmland into a residential subdivision. While no known images or descriptions exist from the time the property was constructed, fire insurances plans for the area from 1924 provide details on the residence as it was originally built.

The Burlington Heritage Advisory Committee reported that:

  • The property is not a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method
  • The property was dramatically altered between 2009 and 2011, which changed the appearance of the central dormer and making it even less classifiable as a recognizable style
  • Within its historic subdivision, there are better preserved, and more architecturally distinguished examples of residential buildings from the early 20th century
  • It is not associated with any significant historical figures or communities

It is not a landmark and does not stand out in the street.

Council directed Direct the Director of Community Planning to remove the property from the Heritage Register.

In closing the meeting Mayor Meed Ward said:  “I just wanted to again, thank our heritage staff for bringing this forward and allowing us the opportunity to have a fulsome conversation. They one tricky thing with heritage is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. And if we don’t have the opportunity to learn these stories, and determine if there is that cultural or architectural significance, then we can go back to almost like one of those Measure twice, cut once. And I think it’s really important that we somehow find a way to also preserve these incredible stories I found so much value and just learning about the history from this presentation of that particular property and its connection back to apple orchards and who lived there and so while it might not qualify, it still helped to shape our tissue hub.

You know, thank you for going through this process with us. It is the right process. And we thank you very much for your patience and apologize for the stress that might have caused you and your family. We’re always committed to process improvement and we will continue to do our very best to make make the heritage process something that you know our residents are well informed about. And that you know, we can help to standardize and make it a lot easier on our staff so that we can get that out in the right in the right manner. So thank you so much for going through that journey with us. Just wanted to say that I will be supporting the staff recommendation. And thanks again to him for everyone that has worked very hard to bring this into a quick turnaround.

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1 comment to Council corrects a mistake – mumbles an apology and takes 600 Brant off the Heritage Registry.

  • Anne-Marie Tywonek

    Thank you Pepper for bringing this to the attention of those who care. To say I’m sad doesn’t begin to cover it 🙁 I get the logical/business side of this. Still, it completely sucks.

    Before COVID, my elder mum and I would take a break after shopping at No Frills with a cup of coffee/tea and donuts. WITHOUT fail, my mother would wistfully say how much she loves this house. We were out doing groceries today and I broke the news to her. She was very silent…albeit the sound of her heart breaking.