Minto Demolishes Oshawa Landmark

Demolished December 20, 2013 Global TV coverage:

Thank you goes out to Cathy Clarke and Robert T Bell for coming in the cold and sleet to speak with Mark McAllister from Global TV about the historic, architectural and cultural significance of this beautiful building destroyed by Minto Friday Dec 20th, 2013 - Note the demolition by Minto was willfully done at the start of Christmas holidays and would not have been recorded except for Rosemary McConkey noticing the bulldozer and calling the media. Hats off to Mark McAllister making the drive to Oshawa.  


Rosemary's note to Mayor John Henry and Councillor John Aker: "With your underwhelming performance and fake sincerity that you care, this loss is yours!"

"This is a story of Oshawa Mayor John Henry, Councillor John Aker and Minto pretending to show interest while thwarting all efforts to do something better. Originally the City was supposed to move the house next door to the city owned 2 acres for a future fire station. When Rosemary McConkey discovered in late March 2012 that the city had ditched its plan to move it 200 feet onto the vacant adjacent city lot and that Minto had requested and received demolition permission BEFORE the March public meeting for their subdivision, citizens rallied, made delegations to the City and put together two proposals to Minto/the Region and the City in April and May.

The grassroots group steering committee members were behind a revised recommendation from the city's municipal advisory committee, Heritage Oshawa, that the City and developer to consider alternatives to the demolition permit. They went before Council and the motion was approved 6 to 5. However when the motion went back to the City's Development Services Standing committee it was tabled, three times! The citizens were left without backup from the city.

In June the grassroots steering committee members met with Minto executives in Toronto and were invited back for further deliberations. However when their July 6th scheduled meeting was pre-empted with Minto's Land Development Manager Tom Giancos rushing to meet with Mayor Henry instead, it became apparent the community consultation process was a pretense. Undaunted citizens continued to find a solution that would save the stone house. Two written offers in August and September from private citizens were submitted to Minto, but the developer and the City in their rush to have the sales office open in the fall, did not want to take any responsibility for any changes that might cause delay. Then days before Minto planned to demolish the house in September 2012 the Ministry of National Resources kyboshed the plan. The habitat of the chimney swift bird in the stone house chimney needed to be protected and slowed Minto's rush to tear the house down. Historic Home Gets a Swift but Brief Reprieve (Toronto Star) For Mayor Henry to blame Heritage Oshawa for signing off is a distraction but typical of his habit of blaming others for his inaction. Heritage Oshawa is a lapdog of the city, it is empowered only when city staff and councils give it signals to do anything."

"This Windfields/McLaughlin stone house was a landmark that should not and need not have been destroyed. The excuses Mayor Henry uses don't wash for those who know what actually transpired from the time Minto bought the 150 acres on Simcoe St three years ago. Mayor Henry can pretend there was nothing he could have done but this unnecessary demolition is a testament to his weak leadership. His usual scripted messages blaming others and the fantasy of his all-is-great-in-Oshawa cheerleader speak may fool some but the fact is he allowed the City to be bought off with $150,000 which the developer offered four days before the city approved the Minto plan of subdivision."

More from Rosemary's social media page: "I am an ardent property rights advocate. However, the operative word in with any development plan is 'approval'. Of course Minto had no obligation to preserve this building, but if John Henry and John Aker had given any signals of the City's desire to do more there certainly was an opportunity to do something. After the community made presentations and rallied to inform Council of the historical, architectural and cultural significance of this beautiful stone, former Windfields/McLaughlin Foreman's Residence, at the last minute, Oshawa Development Services staff put forward a report that Minto would retain the building, July 5th, 2012. But incredibly the next day Friday July 6 Minto rep Tom Giancos came to Oshawa (after cancelling our citizens meeting with him in Toronto) and met with the Mayor. At that meeting Henry agreed to accept $150,000 and gave his blessing to the allow the demolition. Monday July 9th this was put before the Development Services Committee for 'approval' and Thursday July 12th at a Special Meeting of Council the Minto plan of subdivision was 'approved'."

A quote from Cathy Clarke: " It was a miserable day watching a miserable and needless demolition. Too bad Minto doesn't care about the community it's building in. And especially too bad that the Mayor and Council didn't do anything to prevent this travesty."