Comment 84685

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 03, 2013 at 23:05:37

"As I have indicated publicly in the past, it is my intention to work with all parties in an effort to preserve the Gore wall." ~ Jason Farr

Why? Why do you want to preserve a "Wall", Jason? Because it makes good political sense for re-election? Or because you believe that preserving what your ancestors left for you would be good for your children?

But how would you know what your ancestors left for you is good to begin with, when in the same breath you say: "With that, we will continue to make every effort to both facilitate progress while at the same time value our past."

Preserving built Heritage is not a zero-sum game, while progress as you understand it, appears to be.

Hence you say a "wall" and not "buildings".

St. Petersburg is what it is today, because its local culture loves its past - as is Old Quebec city, Old Montreal or Annapolis, Maryland. Progress has not stopped here because Heritage came in their way. In fact they define "progress" everyday.

We on the other hand hate our past. We are so ashamed of it that we find disingenuous ways to tear it down. We have been using progress as an excuse to wipe it clean for fifty years. Yet, have we succeeded? No.

Why? because we truly believe that the city we have built on the ruins of the beautiful buildings we destroyed, is the greatest architecture. We are incapable of looking at our glass-box failures and learning from it.

"Some people hold the view that our insensitiveness to formal beauty is no disgrace. Such argue that our accomplishments and our interests are in other fields, where we more than match the accomplishments of older civilizations. They forget that every achievement not registered in terms of beauty has failed of its final and enduring transmutation. It is because the achievements of older civilizations attained to their apotheoses in art that they interest us, and unless we are able to effect a corresponding transmutation we are destined to perish unhonoured on our rubbish heap. That we shall effect it, through knowledge and suffering, is certain, but before attempting the more genial and rewarding task of tracing, in our life and in our architecture, those forces and powers which make for righteousness, for beauty, let us look our failures squarely in the face, and discover if we can why they are failures." ~ Architecture and Democracy, Claude Fayette Bragdon - F.A.I.A., 1918

I don't think that you still get it that the proposed development was a bloody joke. There is no development Jason. And even with some divine intervention if some project materializes on that land, the caliber of people who are involved in this game with the quality of journalism spinning this, are simply incapable of delivering public good on which you would want to hang your hat.

Don't fall into this trap. There is nothing to facilitate here. The core does not need another 100 floor embarrassment. You can choose to remain blind and happy with the notion that you are helping rebuild this city with your meeting next week, or you could choose to wake up from you holiday reverie - and just for your own sake, at least try to understand why "there has been an explicit desire by many folks" to save these buildings.

Maybe then you will care enough to ask for a public investigation into who, and why, someone compromised the Municipal Heritage Committee's confidentiality. And then you may get motivated to clean the City Hall from the inside for the sake of your children, who will inherit what you will leave behind for them.

Please don't waste your time facilitating such "progress". All they are looking for is some cheap money in exchange for saving some "bloody old" facades:

"It could be a commercial, retail and residential development. Or it could be “scaled back” to small boutique buildings for single tenants. Blanchard isn’t sure if there’s a way to save a couple of heritage buildings fronting King East. Miles says the real answer is they’ll be happy to restore the facades if someone donates $10 million to the project. They’re not really open to a casino going in there. But if someone approached them, they’d look at it. Make no mistake. These guys are the real deal." ~ Andrew Dreschel, Oct 26, 2012

Real progress in downtown has already been happening for over a decade, painfully incremental, but self-assured--and you damn well know that.

If you must do something next week, call for an emergency council meeting to find out how this situation came to be, and get it fixed officially. Or at least have the City Manager release an official statement to the effect that all of this was just a juvenile holiday prank, because David thought the world was coming to an end according to the Mayan calendar, and just wanted to see what a heritage bubble floating up looked like.

Mahesh P. Butani

PS: Please share this images with your children. Ask them whether you Clr. Farr, should save the buildings or just the "wall". Then ask them for their definition of "progress".

Please show them this too and ask them what if their city council had supported the destruction of all their buildings, because they were old...and needed repair... and how would that city look like today? Their answers will surprise you.

(above images from Brian Henley's web site)

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2013-01-04 00:15:44

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