Dear Minister Peterson-Rafuse:
Re: Request not to fund the demolition of a historic landmark — 70 George St in Sydney’s North End Heritage Conservation District
I am writing to you today on behalf of a collective of concerned North-End Sydney residents. As an engaged group working towards a more vibrant community, and one concerned about the historical integrity of our neighbourhood, we understand the importance of 70 George Street and the negative impact of its potential demolition. We respectfully ask that you promptly intervene to ensure that your department does not fund the demolition and replacement of 70 George, one of Sydney’s recognized heritage buildings.
The North End Sydney historical district provides value far beyond the assessed worth of its individual homes. The area’s unique colonial past comes alive in a walk through the streets as the homes, including this commanding Victorian-style home, tell their stories. The beauty and character of these homes adds to the community landscape and is an important draw for many North End residents. The value of these homes, and the historical integrity of the area, becomes even more significant in light of the impressive number of visitors/tourists who can walk a mere four minutes from their cruise ships to the majestic George Street, including of course, 70 George.
As a citizen’s group, we appreciate Resi-Care and its residents as an integral part of our community. These residents contribute to the warm, welcoming atmosphere of North End Sydney. We are writing today in the hopes of securing a solution that meets both the needs of all North End residents as well as the mandate and aspirations of the heritage district conservation efforts.
To this end, we ask that you accept the recommendations of the Old Sydney Society, one of Canada’s oldest and most respected heritage organizations. Although demolition and replacement is the standard funding policy of your department, exceptional circumstances, the community importance and tourism value of 70 George Street, call for a rehabilitation of the building. Given the value of the home, we feel it is both possible and reasonable to sell the home and use the profits to build a replacement Resi-Care home. Alternatively, residents could stay in 70 George with funding directed to a one-story addition without disrupting the façade, in keeping with the district’s regulations. We support the requests of the Old Sydney Society in the hopes of saving both this beautiful heritage home and maintaining our vibrant community.
We are writing now because of the distressing timeline for demolition. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality can no longer withhold the demolition permit. We fear that without your intervention, we will soon lose this historical and cultural piece of our community.
The Northend Development Association