09 Jul St. Giles church, an asset to Sherman Hub
The fate of the former St. Giles church is up in the air. The owners, New Vision Church, applied for a permit to demolish the century-old church at 85 Holton Avenue South on April 17, 2018. But city staff say that the church meets 8 of the 9 requirements for heritage designation under the Ontario Heritage Act and have filed a recommendation report for heritage status.
The Heritage Community voted unanimously to recommend the designation. Transforming St. Giles church into a designation of heritage would publicly acknowledge the property’s value to the community of Hamilton; and most importantly, ensure the conservation of the property for the benefit and use of future generations.
While the idea seems promising, complications stand in the way of sustaining the life of the church. The current owners strongly hope for the demolition because the repairs would be too costly for their congregation, and Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green supports their endeavor.
If they were to receive the Hamilton Heritage Property Grant to help with the cost of repairs it would only cover 25% to a maximum of $150,000 for eligible work.
However, a heritage grant may be received in conjunction with any other City heritage program or development/redevelopment program if they don’t exceed 50% of the total cost of the restoration and conservation work.
It’s also particularly important to remember that a Heritage Designation does not mean that the property cannot be changed or altered; a partial demolition allows for change to be made to the property. The former church, in the hopes of becoming a Heritage Designation, could be something as significant as a community centre or housing option for the people of Hamilton.
The recommendation will be brought before the Planning Committee at the meeting on July 10, and if the Committee agrees that the property should become a Heritage Designation, it will be sent to City Council for ratification on July 13.
Currently, there are no plans for what the potentially demolished church will become. A wonderful piece of Hamilton history could soon become a dull, uninspired, vacant piece of land.
Photo credit: Raise the Hammer