Kitchener’s Heritage and the Mayfair Hotel

The MHBPNA just received the following email from a concerned resident:

This Monday evening, at the 7:00 pm council meeting, Councillor Zyg Janecki will propose that the Mayfair demolition be put on hold. This will give the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario a chance to get an architect or engineer, who is an expert in heritage restoration, to offer preliminary expert advice on the feasibility and cost of restoring a heritage building.  The cost to the city will be $300.00.

We talked to Mr. Janecki last evening.  He suggested we get as many people as possible to attend Monday night’s council meeting.  The presence of a large group of citizens interested in seeing heritage buildings saved, may sway enough councillors to support his motion.  He needs the support of at least 8 councillors, or two thirds of the eleven person council, to reverse the decision made on April 23 to remove the heritage protection from the Mayfair.
We feel that it is important to get the opinion of an expert in heritage restoration before the final decision to demolish is made.  If, however, the opinion of the expert is that the building is beyond saving, we will no longer oppose demolition.
To our knowledge, parking in the parking garage below city hall on council night is free.  The Mayfair is the first item, under new business, on the agenda to be dealt with after council hands out some awards 

If you know of anyone else who might be interested in attending, please bring them along.

We believe this is an important opportunity to show our support for our heritage buildings which are disappearing at an alarming rate. For example, on Monday (May 4, 2015) the MHBPNA appeared as a delegation at the meeting of Kitchener Heritage to argue in favour of placing the Krug Furniture building on a list of “heritage buildings of interest”. This gives the city 60 days to respond if an application to demolish is submitted (the normal time frame is 30 days). The owners of Krug Furniture opposed this listing and denied their building was a “landmark” which is simply not true. The Heritage committee listed this building but this still has to be passed by Kitchener City council at their next meeting and we will call on your support for that. Eventually we could ask to have it given an actual heritage designation.

The Mayfair hotel did have a heritage designation but because two engineering reports have deemed it structurally unsound, city council voted in favour of removing that status so it can be demolished. In the Saturday Record we can read this article which describes how the adjacent building may be threatened by the Mayfair demolition.

On a recent Jane’s Walk, led by our mayor, I learned that the developer for the Mayfair corner is not the same as for the City Centre condos and that the corner is not necessarily tied into the vision of the condos which will have a park and public space feature. The vision the Mayfair developer had will be lost if it is demolished and we risk the loss of an additional historic building as well! The Mayfair hotel is 110 years old, it passed an inspection prior to its sale in 2013. It was only after a flood that the “deficiencies” were found.

MHBPNA believes that we should all make an effort to preserve our history. We are not certain that Councillor Janecki will achieve his goal, but we believe he should be supported. We will also make a note of the other councillors who support the motion and those who do not! Please come out on Monday so we can show our support.

Ted Parkinson

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