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Wednesday November 4th, 2015

Posted at 8:35pm

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Olde Walkerville could soon be losing a 94-year-old church that has fallen into disrepair.

St. George’s Anglican Church and Hall at 1949 Devonshire Court closed to its congregation in late June, and on September 11th, the Anglican Diocese of Huron submitted a heritage alteration permit requesting demolition of St. George’s Church — built in 1955 — and the earlier church building — built in 1921 — which are connected buildings.

The older building was originally the Memorial Hall of St. Mary’s Anglican Church. St. George’s parish moved there in 1925 from a smaller building that remains today at 909 Moy Avenue.

City administration says the property has sufficient heritage attributes that make it eligible for designation, although they do not recommended it.

In a letter to the parish in the spring, a structural engineer’s report concluded “both the original circa 1925 St. George’s Church House and the 1955 Church Addition exhibit evidence of serious structural deterioration and defects which pose foreseeable health and safety risks to both the building occupants and the public.”

The engineer’s report continued with a recommendation that “the property be vacated and demolished, as soon as possible, for the safety of the public.” The structural engineer further recommended “that temporary fencing and signing be installed around the buildings to restrict public access to within 30 ft. of the buildings, until the demolition work is completed.”

While the complex is listed on Windsor’s municipal heritage register, city administration is recommending that the requested demolition be approved.

“Although there is identifiable heritage significance to the property, both buildings would need major work for their long-term future; and such work could reduce their heritage characteristics,” concluded city administration in a report to city councillors. “Redevelopment of houses on the property should respect the character of the surrounding neighbourhood.”

The issue goes to the city’s Planning, Heritage & Economic Development Standing Committee on November 9th for discussion.

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