Action Patrimoine seeks reversal of demolition decision for historic North Hatley residence

Action Patrimoine seeks reversal of demolition decision for historic North Hatley residence

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative

Action Patrimoine, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of Quebec’s built heritage, has formally requested May 9 the MRC de Memphrémagog to overturn a recent decision by the Village of North Hatley’s municipal council to authorize the demolition of a historic home located at 190 Main Street.

In letters obtained by The Record addressed to Jacques Demers, Prefect and President of the MRC de Memphrémagog, as well as key provincial officials, Action Patrimoine expressed its strong opposition to the demolition. The organization, which has been active since 1975, argued that the house is an integral part of a protected heritage site established by the municipality in 1987.

Renée Genest, executive director of Action Patrimoine, highlighted in the letter the historical, architectural, landscape, and urbanistic value of the property, which she believes were not adequately considered by the council in their decision. She emphasized that the collective character of the heritage site, rather than individual buildings, contributes to its overall value.

Action Patrimoine had previously voiced its opposition to the demolition on Feb 9, 2023, and March 7, 2024. Despite these efforts, the municipal council followed the demolition committee’s recommendation on May 6, leading to the approval of the demolition.

The organization also raised concerns about procedural irregularities. According to Action Patrimoine, the preliminary program for the reuse of the cleared land, required by the municipality’s demolition regulation No. 2022-641, was not adequately presented.

This program should include detailed plans and architectural elevations of the proposed replacement buildings, but the document submitted to the council lacked these concrete plans. Moreover, it was noted that no maintenance had been performed on the house since 2017, leading to its deterioration, which further complicates the situation.

Action Patrimoine has urged the MRC de Memphrémagog to use its authority under Article of the Act respecting land use planning and development to reverse the municipal council’s decision. They argue that the demolition regulation aims to control demolition works, protect culturally valuable buildings, and manage the reuse of cleared land, which they believe was not adhered to in this case.

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