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Carleton University mystified at the city’s heritage registry recommendations

Ottawa Citizen
August 22, 2017

When Carleton University heads found out three of its buildings are poised to land on a city heritage registry, they couldn’t comprehend how that could possibly happen.

Dunton Tower, Paterson Hall and the School of Architecture illustrate, according to city heritage staff, some kind of importance to Ottawa’s history.

For the university, it’s such a bizarre proposal that it sent one of its executives to council’s planning committee on Tuesday to express the institution’s wonderment.

Darryl Boyce, the assistant vice-president who oversees facilities and planning, said the school was surprised to see the three buildings show up as possible additions to the heritage registry, especially since there are already plans for the structures in the queue.

Carleton’s 2016 campus master plan talks about replacing Paterson Hall and adding a three-storey podium to Dunton Tower.

On its face, the city’s heritage registry is simply a list of properties that have some kind of interesting connection to Ottawa’s past. The properties on the list aren’t protected by heritage laws, and the information isn’t required to be put on a land title, but if owners want to demolish buildings on the registry they must provide a 60-day warning to city hall.

The city says the registry isn’t a step to protecting a property under heritage rules. Still, there’s that catch.

The main worry, which councillors recognize, is that the city might work to slap heritage designation on a property if it receives a demolition notice.

And if there are heritage restrictions on a property, the property value could be affected, especially for owners who are keen to sell the land for demolition and redevelopment.

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