CBC News: Hintonburg community calls for sidewalk to reopen near Magee House

Magee House on November 21, 2018. Photo: D. Jones

Monday, March 11, 2019

CBC NEWS, By Krystalle Ramlakhan

People in Hintonburg are still calling for the sidewalk around the partially-collapsed Magee House to be reopened.

Ever since the wall of the old stone house crumbled last July, a chain-link fence has blocked access to the sidewalk and on-street parking spots in front of the property.

An update on Magee House, located at 1119 Wellington St. W., is expected this Tuesday at the city's built heritage sub-committee.

"Our key concern all along has been to reopen the sidewalk as soon as possible," said Dennis Van Staalduinen, executive director of the Wellington West Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Since December, Van Staalduinen said he's been in weekly contact with City of Ottawa staff concerning the status of the building and plans for future.

Van Staalduinen said the city told him that there's a plan going forward and work on the building will start in the near future, but he said that's not enough.

He says the community wants firm dates on when work will start, and when the sidewalk could reopen following this week's update.

He said it's been a "terrible year" and "challenging" for businesses on that block due to the lack of pedestrian traffic.

Owner plans to restore building

But Magee House owner Ovidio Sbrissa says he still plans to restore the building.

Because of the age, construction, and heritage significance of the building, he said care needs to be taken in the structure's restoration.

He said work will have to wait until the weather warms up, but clean up work should be done earlier.

"In terms of uniqueness and the originality of the construction of the walls, it's a very, very important historical building and it should be taken care of in that manner," Sbrissa said.

Sbrissa also wants the sidewalk to reopen as soon as possible. He said he'd like to review the location of the fence with the city, as clean up work gets underway.

"I always considered it my castle," he said.

"Just because you got a hole in the wall, you don't destroy the building."


Read this article in its entirety here on CBC News.