Revitalization

Interview with HWDSB Chair Tim Simmons on Sanford School

By Chris Healey
Published November 29, 2012

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) recently voted to demolish Sandord School at 149 Sanford Avenue North with very little community consultation and apparently no opportunity for developers to express interest in buying the building.

This is a phone interview with Tim Simmons, HWDSB chair and my local Trustee, who was gracious enough to give his full attention to a blogger wearing a citizen journalist hat. I was impressed with his willingness to confront the issues and to attend the community meeting next week.

You can right-click this link to download the MP3 of the interview.

I voice concerns and ask Mr. Simmons questions about the decisions and process that has led to the likely imminent demolition of Sanford Avenue School - a beautiful 1932 historic building in my neighbourhood. Apologies for the poor quality of the phone recording - we do the best we can with what we have. There is nothing scandalous here, but lots of revealing insight into the process and even a sense of hope and common ground, I believe.

Buildings like these are an artist live / work loft dream come true, and many other people find this structure equally as appealing for many other uses - including developers who have not had a chance to propose a plan to save the building and incorporate local community goals.

If you are reading this before Dec 4, 2012 and you live in Hamilton, particularly Ward 3, then please consider attending the Wever Hub special community meeting that day, 6:00 PM at Cathy Wever School to voice your opinion.

It's important, especially for future generations in the community.

Background

In Hamilton Ontario where we live, many beautiful buildings get torn down and now one of the most historically significant landmarks of built heritage in the city core is to be quickly demolished and replaced with a soccer field and plenty of free parking.

Sanford School was opened in 1932 and is the first 100 percent Canadian steel framed building.

We can let everyone know what is happening here and who has been involved in these decisions. We can present more viable options to demolishing heritage buildings - such as a seniors home, artist live-work spaces or even condos.

Related:


This was first published on Chris Healey's website: Podcast, Video

Chris Healey is an artist and online publishing professional living in Hamilton, Ontario. He has had an interesting 20 years in the art and media scenes of Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. http://chrishealey.me/

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:31:43

This building looks very sturdy. With lots of large windows and curb appeal it can be converted to anything. Commercial or residential.
Hard to comprehend who would want to destroy THIS.

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By Dane (registered) | Posted November 30, 2012 at 16:30:16

I do agree with your point overall. There should be a formal policy that puts emphasis on restoration, repurposing and basic enforcement of building usage. Especially and without any doubt municipal buildings should be held to a high standard (leading by example). Municipal/government building should never be torn down, ever.

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By Mainstreet (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2012 at 08:33:53

Does anyone else see the political opportunism here?This is a red herring situation.As most people can see,this building is a treasure in good shape that is well worth preserving.A problem is created and the rescuer arrives at the last minute to save the day.I hope this is simply more grandstanding and vote grabbing .

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