North Hatley committee votes to demolish deteriorating heritage building

North Hatley committee votes to demolish deteriorating heritage building
(Photo : Courtesy Ville de North Hatley)

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative

A North Hatley special committee voted unanimously March 20 to allow for the demolition of the heritage building at 190 Rue Main, citing its poor condition, elevated potential repair costs, and location in a flood zone. The three-member committee, which met previously on the issue Jan. 24, 2023, gave its decision in front of roughly 25 members of the public in the small hall adjoining Sainte-Elisabeth Church.

Opinions on the topic were divided during the question and comment session held before the decision was made. Town Councillor Andrew J. Pelletier, who presided over the meeting, noted the decision was not final and there are more steps in the process, including a 30-day window in which members of the public can file a formal objection.

In attendance was Mayor Marcella Davis-Gerrish, who said an info letter detailing these steps would be made public through the town March 21. The final ruling rests in the hands of the full town council at a later date.

190 Rue Main

The meeting began with a presentation on the house and property in question. The house, built in 1937, has an approximate value of $300,000. The property itself is valued at roughly $1.3 million, bringing the total valuation to about $1.6 million.

The house is generally located in a 20–100-year flood zone, with its left side at the same level as a 0–20-year flood zone. “The foundation and the walls are constantly exposed to water,” said Pelletier. He noted that at their previous meeting only photos of the outside of the house were available, whereas now they have photos of the interior which paint a “particularly problematic” picture of the state of the building. The photos showed fungus and severe water damage in the basement.

The house’s heritage value resides primarily in its previous ownership, which includes members of the LeBaron family, one of North Hatley’s founding families. Pelletier emphasized the house, which has undergone some maintenance over the years, has maintained its original “look” but does not currently have much current “social or symbolic” significance. Though the building is made of brick, an uncommon construction material at the time for the area, it does not have any particular aesthetic value.

Total renovation costs of the building, budgeting for contingencies, are estimated at just over $1 million. If the house ends up being demolished, any new house on the property would need to be built outside the flood zone and would be pre-assessed for its “visual, historical and financial” impact on the municipality.

Subscribe to read the full story

Share this article