College Ruling To Take Time

Article in London Free Press
By Hank Daniszewski - Free Press Reporter

LACAC Wants To Consult An Expert On The Issue

The head of a heritage advisory group said it's time to cool the heated debate over the fate of historic Alma College.

Angus Walton, chairperson of the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC) wants to take time to get a report on the historically designated former girls' school that is threatened with demolition.

"The building may be solid. Who knows? We need an impartial person with qualifications to check it," he said.

On Monday, St. Thomas city council delayed a decision on a demolition permit requested by owner Brian Squires until it receives a report from LACAC. But sparks flew at the end of the meeting when Squires accused Mayor Peter Ostojic of covertly suggesting the demolition, noting it would clear the way for a new seniors' home. Ostojic, in turn, blamed Squires for gutting the structure and allowing it to deteriorate.

Walton said years of political squabbling over the issue should not stop LACAC from making a fair and reasonable recommendation to council. He also said LACAC will not act hastily. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb.11 and Walton said it may take even more time to make a recommendation.

"Everyone must retain their objectivity and don't let what has passed cloud their views. ... Let's face it - no one wants to lose it."