Call for public consultation on the condo project at 22 Principale
We wish to alert our fellow citizens and elected officials to the potentially detrimental consequences of a building project at 22 rue Principale that is within the protection area of Auberge Symmes under the Cultural Heritage Act.
In a recent issue of the Bulletin, a developer announced plans to erect at 22 Principale a four-story structure composed of underground parking, a commercial or professional space, as well as up to 18 condo units.
This project, if not scaled down, would not be legal even if it complied with the zoning by-law. The project would contravene another key by-law which requires the harmonious integration of new buildings with the heritage components of Old Aylmer (PIIA by-law). The project should therefore by rejected by City Council in accordance with the law, until it becomes heritage-compliant.
If built as proposed, the condo complex would disrupt a village environment graced with several of the oldest and most emblematic heritage houses that give Aylmer its distinctive architectural and historical identity. These houses constitute a unique ensemble which enhances the exceptional panoramic topography offering a glorious view of Lac Deschênes. This is what we, and the visitors we attract here, could see disfigured by a condo complex at odds with the ambiance of the heritage quarter and with the new model of commercial development that is at last emerging in Old Aylmer.
Because we are worried by this project and determined to safeguard the integrity of the heritage quarter, and also because we believe in the City’s commitment to a more transparent planning decision-making process, we demand that the developer’s plan be subjected to a public consultation as is provided for by the Land Use and Planning Development Act (section 145.18). Citizens have the right to be involved and heard.
We by no means oppose the construction of a new building at 22 Principale which would beautify the architecture and landscape of rue Principale through a design, volume, height and structure that are compatible with that of neighbouring heritage landmarks. If such a project were approved, the door would inevitably be open to more such condo blocks, which could undermine the precious heritage character of Old Aylmer. We will therefore remain mobilised until the project is reduced to a scale that is acceptable to the community and in compliance with the requirements of a genuine heritage integration.
Roger Blanchette, spokesperson for the Musée de l'Auberge Symmes
Micheline Lemieux, president of the Aylmer Heritage Association
Ghislain Otis, spokesperson for a group of Aylmer citizens