Protesting The Saving Of The Former Port Hope Hospital

In News

A rally was held in front of the Port Hope Town Hall on Wednesday afternoon by a group of people objecting to councils decision to designate 65 Ward Street of heritage value.
The building is owned by Southbridge Care Homes Inc. who are proposing the building be redeveloped for a new long care facility.

Jennifer Dean was one of the protestors on Wednesday afternoon and said the building (former hospital) has been vacant for 12 years.
“Designating this property is going to have a huge effect on the plans that were in the works and the ground that was supposed to be broken within the next month.”
Southbridge Care Homes Inc. also owns Hope Street Terrace where Dean works and Regency Manor.
Dean explains the current guidelines of the building down support the redeveloped plans of the current building and more importantly Ministry guidelines including window sizes and door frames..
“All of that would have to be re-worked. The structure of the building is not viable for overhead mechanical lifts, elevators.”
“We’re being told that if it can’t be put into that spot, it will be taken out of town.”

If the project is lost to the town, Dean explains the residents will be displaced.
“Those that have grown up, and supported this town. Their families are here. Those jobs will be lost.”
In a special meeting council voted in a unanimous decision to make the property “cultural heritage value of interest,” as pursuant to Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Residents, family members, staff and former staff came out to protest on a rainy drizzly day in front of Port Hope Town Hall.
If the project was allowed to be redeveloped by Southbridge Care Homes Inc. Residents of both Hope Street Terrace and Regency Manor would be combined into the new building.
Regency Manor would then become 41 retirement suites creating more new jobs.

The building has sat empty for 12 years and was previously a nursing home where Dean first started working 18 years ago.
“The residents had to be moved out of that building because it was deemed it wasn’t safe to live in then.”
Brian Gilmer, Director of Corporate Services / Clerk at the Municipality of Port Hope said Wednesday’s demonstration at Town Hall, “is a signal that our community is engaged in the decisions that are made at Town Hall and that is always a positive step forward.”

“Those who are in opposition of the designation of the property at 65 Ward Street are certainly encouraged to file an objection with the Clerk’s office, setting out the reason for the objection and all relevant facts. The deadline to file an objection is May 21. If a notice of objection is received, the Council of the Municipality of Port Hope shall refer the matter to the Conservation Review Board (CRB) to commence a formal hearing process.”
“As always, when residents have concerns in the community, we encourage them to attend our Council meetings to address Members of Council during question period. Council meetings take place on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Our next meeting is May 1 at 6:30 p.m.”

The motion passed unanimously be council on April 11 reads as follows”Council unanimously passed the following motion:
That pursuant to Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act, the clerk be directed to publish a Notice of Intention to designate the property municipally addressed as 65 Ward Street, as being of cultural heritage value of interest; and further That a by-law to designate 65 Ward Street be prepared for presentation to Council following the 30-day notice required by the Ontario Heritage Act.
During this 30-day period, the public can comment on the proposed designation.


Dean also sent a letter to Gilmer regarding councils decision.

Dear Mr. Gilmer, I, as a resident of Port Hope, object to the vote by council to designate this property as heritage, which will hinder plans for a new long term care facility to replace Hope Street Terrace and Regency Manor. These two buildings are in need of upgrading. Current, as well as future residents to these homes certainly deserve the best facilities that Port Hope can offer them. The small town advantage of having these facilities means that families are able to have loved ones close to home, that familiar faces can care for them, and that those residents who are able to go out can safely do so in a small, safe area. These facilities have long time staff who have been steadily employed in otherwise uncertain times in industry in Northumberland County, who have worked together for many years, creating a special environment not always seen in today’s workplaces. The residents benefit from such an environment. In designation of these buildings, the issues that could arise are, loss of over 150 jobs in our town alone, creating much hardship for many families, loss of these facilities means that these residents will have to be relocated from a familiar environment and the staff that they have come to know on a daily basis, businesses outside of those facilities will also see a loss from those families and staff that frequent local stores and restaurants when visiting family members or on breaks from work. I urge you to look away from the empty building at the corner and look inside the two buildings down the street that are full of local people who care about where they live and work.
Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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