Heritage registered building in Windsor could be torn down

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The fate of another heritage registered building will be in the hands of Windsor city council next week.

The University is requesting to knock down Iona College, the former home of one of Windsor’s most prominent wartime prosecutors.

Bruce MacDonald lived in the 94-year-old, Georgian style home unlike many others on Sunset Avenue during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

MacDonald’s storied legal career includes serving as the city’s first solicitor in 1930, a chief prosecutor of war criminals for the Canadian Armed Forces and also a judge.

“It’s connected to history, and a person, a great Canadian,” says councillor Irek Kusmierczyk.

“We determine that there is sufficient merit in terms of its cultural heritage value to be designated,” adds Kristina Tang, the city’s acting heritage planner.

But the University of Windsor has other plans for the aging, vacant structure.

“It deteriorated to such an extent that we felt the best of the land was to turn it into green space,” says John Coleman, the director of public affairs and communications at the University.

The house, built in 1924, is currently listed on Windsor’s heritage register, but is not designated.

Coleman tells CTV Windsor the university bought the house in 2016. He says the plan is to tear down the home, and create a parkette onsite called “Judge’s Row.”

An independent assessment found asbestos inside, which would be costly to remediate. Neighbours suggest they have been told it may cost $2-million to repair the home to meet today’s property standards.

Consultant Amec Foster Wheeler concludes the property “does not have sufficient cultural heritage value or interest to prevent it from being demolished.”

“I fundamentally disagree with the consultant’s report,” says Kusmiercyzk, who sits on the heritage committee, which is recommending a heritage designation.

He says the home is worth saving.

Council will vote on the matter on Monday.

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