Opinion: Save Woodburn Cottage

Dear Editor,

Regrettably, I was unable to attend the information meeting regarding Woodburn Cottage. I was rather disturbed that the Town Council did not support its Heritage Committee more forcefully in denying this development application, particularly, since it is already a designated property.

Woodburn Cottage is an architectural and historical gem! The Regency-styled residence is the diamond and the surrounding landscape is the setting for what is Lincoln’s best heritage property.

The Town has often emphasized the importance of agriculture (greenhouses, wineries) and tourism to the local economy; yet, here we are, considering destroying the aesthetics and the view that so many people come to see and enjoy. Check out the travel magazines and tourist brochures, see how often it is used in promoting our area.

The 30 per cent of the heritage property that is being severed appears larger than the original house (4922 King St.) lot that was demolished under the pretense that it was in “derelict condition” and would collapse! This is no minor variance or adjustment! This is a major change.

Although not stated specifically in the designation statement, but generally referenced in the Ontario Heritage Act – make no mistake about this- the surrounding landscape is an integral part of this heritage property. Mr. Fracchioni refers to the “rotting and dying vegetation” and “clearing it up” which to a developer means “cut down everything”. An unkempt property is usually the first step in the process of “demolition by neglect”. One would wonder if the property has seen any genuine maintenance since Mr. Fracchioni purchased it?

He could get a few “how to” tips from his neighbours on King St. East and West.

One final concern, on this same heritage property; remember my reference earlier about “chewing away at the edges”? Immediately to the east of the residence, there is another portion of land; will it be Mr. Fracchioni’s next townhouse project? Then, the picture frame will be complete, a brick wall of townhouses at the back, matching red brick houses to the west and the same to the east; all pressing in on our heritage diamond. We can call it the Fracchioni Wall! I hope the Town rejects this request completely.

Vic Dirksen,

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