In a media release today, Heritage Ottawa expressed support for strong measures being put in place to protect Somerset House from further deterioration. Located at the corner of Bank and Somerset streets, the former grand landmark now stands as the city’s most egregious example of demolition by neglect.
Heritage Ottawa’s ongoing efforts to encourage the preservation of this designated heritage property date back to 2007, soon after the building's untimely collapse. That work continued through the years of unsuccessful efforts and incentives on the part of the City to encourage the owner, Tony Shahrasebi, to rehabilitate the property.
Court Curry, Manager of Right of Way, Heritage and Urban Design Services, announced last Thursday at the meeting of the City’s Built Heritage Sub-Committee (BHSC) that he no longer believes that Mr. Shahrasebi intends on continuing with his previously presented plans to restore and rehabilitate the building.
At the BHSC meeting, Councillor Wilkinson recommended that the City undertake remediation of the building deficiencies resulting from the property owner's neglect, and charge the cost back to the property taxes. Councillor McKenney recommended that should the owner fail to rehabilitate the historic building, the City should consider expropriation.
Heritage Ottawa strongly supports these recommendations — both of which Ottawa City Council has the power to enforce under the Ontario Municipal Act.
We urge all concerned citizens to join Heritage Ottawa in supporting stronger action by the City to prevent any further deterioration of Somerset House and the ongoing issue of demolition by neglect.
The upcoming election provides an opportunity to challenge candidates to support measures that will preserve our city's built heritage.
CLICK HERE for Heritage Ottawa's Media Release.
For information contact David B. Flemming via email@example.com
David B. Flemming is a former president of Heritage Ottawa and its representative on the Mayor`s Heritage Matters Task Force.
Somerset House Development Plans Cancelled, City Staff Say | CBC NEWS, 9/13/2018
City Doesn't Think Somerset House Owner will Carry Through with Redevelopment | Ottawa Citizen, 9/13/2018
Flemming: Ottawa Needs More Robust Rules to Preserve its Heritage Buildings | Ottawa Citizen, 8/04/2018