In the controversy over the demolition of the Legg House, did it have to be this:
Brian Jackson, the City Planner, says it was what the neighbourhood wanted:
It’s frustrating because there was a proposal to save both, and that was turned back because the neighbourhood complained about the height of the resulting building,” Jackson said.
Elizabeth Murphy, in an op-ed in The Sun, suggests not: We’ve saved character homes before.
Currently, the imminent demolition of the Heritage A Legg residence, a grand arts-and-crafts mansion and one of the last three left in the West End, could have been prevented if the city had implemented the existing tower separation design guidelines. Only the zoned six-storey height and density would have applied.
One thing for sure: everyone will blame Council.
I followed the issue enough to know that, well, it’s complicated. Yes, a deal could have been done – but not one that would have satisfied the most vocal interest: the immediate neighbours whose views would be affected. Council made the mistake of trying to placate them by choosing the tree over the mansion. And no doubt if they had chosen the house, they would be blamed for the sacrifice of the tree.
You’ll note, we’re not hearing at all from the people who are satisfied with the demolition of the house.
But in a case like this, critics try to avoid criticizing the self-interest of the community – since ‘the community’ is something rather sacred in local politics. The presumption is that, with enough process, an amicable resolution can be found that would satisfy everyone.
Not in this case.