Comment 84381

By Mal (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2012 at 12:02:33

Making minutes available in advance of meetings might have given the Heritage Committee a warning flare. As it stands, as "extremely embarrassing" as this episode is, at least this is somewhat above-board. It could easily be much worse:

Designed by architect John Lyle, he of Union Station and the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the century-old residential building at 7 Austin Terrace was reduced to a shell Tuesday as a small crowd watched in disbelief.

Todd, who bought the property in 2008, wants to tear it down to make way for a row of townhouses.

In theory there's nothing wrong with that, but rather than bother with the niceties of the heritage designation the city is seeking, Todd hired a gang of architectural thugs to tear the place apart, but not demolish it.

For that, a demolition permit would have been required, something Todd and his lawyer, Adam Brown, never asked for.

"Everything that was done today was in our rights as the property owner," said Todd, speaking words that have been heard many times before.

"There's nothing heritage about any part of that building," said Brown. "Today, the building is not listed or designated. My client bought it ... but it's not listed as a designated building. It's a vacant building."

Never more so than now.

"Technically, it wasn't a demolition," Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc explained. "But obviously they are destroying all the heritage features. There's outrage at city hall that they can get away with this."

That's not hard to understand; the way the system works, however, means that until a building has been designated, it isn't protected. But designation takes time, and city council won't reconvene until Jan. 21.

"Once it's designated," Mihevc continued, "Todd can be charged. But you can't designate something that's been destroyed."

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