Owners of two properties in Cookstown are in for a bit of a wait as the town launches an investigation into their heritage impact. At a recent council meeting on September 13, a request from the Innisfil heritage advisory committee was approved to procure peer reviews of the heritage impact assessments submitted for 15-17 Queen St. and 7 King St. N.
Deputy Mayor Kenneth Fowler, who chairs the heritage committee, explained that some questions had arisen regarding the properties and the legitimacy of the impact assessments. The committee is seeking further information before making any decisions, emphasizing the need to ensure accuracy and thoroughness.
The impact assessments were initially presented to the heritage committee during its August 10 meeting. Both reports were prepared by LHC Heritage Planning and Consulting, a firm based in Kingston.
According to the assessments, both properties were found to have “contextual value,” meaning they contribute to the commercial core landscape of downtown Cookstown and align with the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District’s guidelines. However, they do not possess specific design, physical, historical, or associative value.
At 15-17 Queen St., the two structures were constructed approximately 75 years apart. The one-storey building at 15 Queen St., despite its log-style cladding, is not representative of any particular architectural style. Meanwhile, 17 Queen St., likely built between 1865 and 1870, has undergone significant modifications, rendering it a “non-contributing property” in the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District.
The proposed development plan for both 15-17 Queen St. and 7 King St. N. includes three-storey commercial structures. While they may be taller than some buildings on Queen Street, the consultants believe they will align with the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District’s guidelines, adopting a “conservative contemporary” approach.
A similar conclusion was reached for 7 King St. N., where a development proposal calls for a three- to four-storey commercial building with seven sections. The Cookstown heritage plan encourages adaptive reuse for vacant or underutilized buildings along King Street.
Although 7 King St. N. is over 120 years old, it lacks rare or unique qualities, reflecting typical materials and construction methods of its time. However, it holds historical significance as a former blacksmith shop during a period of significant development in the Heritage Conservation District.
As part of the peer review process, any gaps in the impact analysis provided by the consultant will be examined. The cost of the review will be invoiced to the developer, as it pertains to proposed development.
The investigation continues, highlighting the town’s commitment to preserving its heritage while accommodating necessary development. Stay tuned for updates on the outcome of these heritage impact assessments.