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Thursday, December 19, 2019

St.Mary's Rectory Could Be First Historically Designated Building Demolished in Owen Sound

Owen Sound | by Cody Misner  

The current rectory was built in 1872 and currently houses three priests.

Owen Sound could soon approve the very first demolition of a historically designated building in the city.  

The Rectory that is part of St.Mary's Church has been recommended by the Community Services Committee to be torn down and rebuilt.  

Neil Devlin, Chair of Building on the project says that he was at first against the idea and wanted to see it restored until he saw the numbers.  

"$4 million was the last nail in the coffin," Devlin says, "it was just not an option."

The cost of demolition and a new building would cost around $1.8 million in comparison.  

The current rectory was built in 1872 and currently houses three priests.

Devlin says the conditions are appalling with substandard wiring and plumbing.  

The Community Services Committee saw a presentation from the proposed architect with a preliminary design of the new building.

The new rectory would be a single story.  

In the report presented to the committee, this is to bring the focus of the property back to the original church.  

Deputy Mayor and Committee Chair Brian O'Leary states that although the choice between historic significance and innovation is tough but that the money to keep the building simply isn't available.

"This church is one of the most beautiful structures in the city but at some point, you have to let them make their own decisions," O'Leary says, "they just don't have the money to spend $4 million."

A Heritage Impact Assessment was conducted by staff and did find that the building had significant historical and cultural value to the area.

This would also be the first historically designated building in Owen Sound to be demolished.  

Owen Sound City Council will make a final call on the topic during their January 13th meeting. 

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