The following questions came from the local chapter of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO). They were sent to all mayoral and deputy-mayoral candidates, but I am unsure whether council candidates also got them. My responses are below.
The questions were preceded by this:
Questions regarding Collingwood’s Heritage
Members of the Collingwood Branch of the ACO have prepared the following questionnaire to ascertain candidates’ positions on a number of important issues regarding the future of one of our town’s most valuable resources – our historic architecture and cultural heritage. Once compiled, your responses will be posted to our Facebook site. Please make your answers brief. A response would be appreciated by September 18. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule.
Question 1: Describe your personal view of the importance of Collingwood’s cultural and architectural heritage.
Answer: I was on the council that voted unanimously to designate the heritage district. I support maintaining and preserving our heritage buildings and cultural landmarks both inside and outside the district, as well as the incentives to maintain them.
I served on Collingwood’s library and museum boards, and am on the Simcoe County library, museums and archives board, all of which have given me a good appreciation of Collingwood’s and the region’s history and culture.
Question 2: Collingwood currently supports three incentive programs to maintain and to preserve its heritage. Would you continue this support to the extent of increasing the Heritage Tax Rebate program to be more in line with what other communities offer?
Answer: Supporting the program: yes. Increasing it: in principle yes, but council would need a staff report that detailed the financial impact of any increase and to discuss it openly. I would also like to see some comparisons of what other municipalities offer. I would personally want to speak to building owners to get their perspective on what would be a reasonable amount.