Save Historic Tannery House in Streetsville: STOP demolition by Developers in Mississauga

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Tannery House is a beautiful Heritage resource, previously unknown to be of historic value to the Village of Streetsville. Tannery house has not been torn down yet, but developers want to demolish it. The history of the house was discovered in Sept. 2019. The Heritage Advisory Committee of the City of Mississauga responded to one person's assessment of Tannery House, a century home, who said it was not worthy of protection from demolition for its Edwardian characteristics, architecture and connection to significant historic builders of Streetsville on Oct 7th, 2019 at 9:30 am. (300 City Centre Drive, Counsel Chambers: public meeting). (See new post update, Oct 7th, 2019) 

Tannery House is still under the imminent threat of demolition by the developer NYX Corporation who bought 51, 57 and 208 Emby Drive in downtown Streetsville with the intention of building 155 Stacked Townhomes. Six rental units were at 51 Tannery and one rental unit was at 57 Tannery. Tannery House sits on the land at 51 Tannery St. (Top left photo) The development was kept hidden from residents before moving to Tannery house in Oct. 2016. 

A few residents voiced their concerns to City Counsel about the development and openly opposed the development in March 2019. Specifically: 

  1. The lack of affordable housing available in Streetsville and Mississauga. 
  2. Gentrification of the area. Many if not all proposed development(s) for Streetsville cater only to a specific demographic. Some renters are being driven out of Streetsville in a discriminatory manner or cannot afford the high rents in the current housing market. For some, shared rental housing is the only affordable option. 
  3. Little to no available affordable rental housing stock exists in Streetsville (or Mississauga) and none is being built. Developments in theory, are driving up rental prices as well as population growth because rental housing is now a scarce and valuable commodity. Renters must now compete for rental housing.
  4. Hardest hit are singles, seniors, people with disabilities, single parents, those on fixed incomes, full time workers whose income isn't enough to pay for a 1 bedroom etc. and are forced to pay a lot more than 30% of their income on housing. 
  5. Should the development go through, residents asked for a rental housing protection by law enacted in 2018 by the City of Mississauga to be enforced at 51 Tannery enacted for the above reasons.
  6. Damage to the historical setting, environment and trees is troubling.  

City Counsel said all the laws would be taken into consideration including the rental housing protection by law. In spite of this affirmation from the City with respect to rental housing protection, a large fence was erected on 51 and 51 Tannery on Friday Aug. 16th, 2019 in the dark after 9pm to block off grounds at 51/57. Residents were not told what the fence was for though the landlord was asked twice when notice about a fence came. The landlord declined to answer. 

After hearing a loud unexpected crash, one resident came outside on the evening of Aug. 16th, to take photos of the fence going up and was forced to call police due to feeling threatened by fence installers who did not wish to be documented. It was feared the camera would be taken or worse, that the photographer would be assaulted after the installation crew became aggressive and verbally abusive. 

NYX then sent a demolition crew at about 8:30 am the next day on Saturday Aug. 17th, 2019 to 51 Tannery. They demolished one building containing three apartment units in the complex in the same intimidating manner as the night before. This was to the total surprise of the tenants still living on the grounds in other units.

57 Tannery next door was also demolished the same day. Who do you call on a Saturday morning to stop that from happening? Nothing could be done. A call to the City was dismissed and police did not want involvement. The residents felt bullied and harassed for having been vocal about opposing the development earlier in the year at City hall. 

City hall has yet to approve the development and reconvenes on the issue this fall. No City meeting is scheduled yet. Some tenants on the grounds in other rental units felt forced to leave in the midst of Mississauga's ongoing affordable rental housing crisis and incurred great increases to their cost of rental housing. Buy outs from the landlord mean little in the current rental market and won't go far towards covering the increased cost of living.  

The City appears to have taken the side of the developers and ignored a  responsibility to honour the rental protection housing by law so far. NYX did not disclose  the six rental units at 51 Tannery to the City and was able to avoid triggering rental housing by law protection when they got their first permit to demolish one building in May 2019. NYX did not tell tenants it was coming but the tenants were supposed to be informed. The permit was appealable. The City did not investigate at 51 Tannery until July 2019, after the demolition permit had been granted to NYX. 

Councillor George Carlson appeared on the property immediately following the demolition on Monday Aug. 19th to see what had happened onsite. He told a distressed tenant there was nothing that could be done...that the 20 day appeal period for the demolition permit had long since passed and gave an impression the approval of the development was a done deal.

The Chief building official at the City who granted the first demolition permit to NYX also refused to give any advance notice when asked about other upcoming demolitions on the property despite law to the contrary. It is unknown whether that will change. 

The six rental units at 51 Tannery and one additional rental unit at 57 Tannery ought to have had protection from the applicable bylaw. This may have meant rental units in the new development could be replaced on a 1 to 1 basis at similar cost and/or other tenant protections may have been implicated.

The by law also requires tenant notice and education about any demolition activity that concerns them. This was completely denied in what appears to be a planned strategy to prevent tenants from having the means to protect themselves in the current rental market. See: 

http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/residents/rental-housing-protection  

The biggest concerns are the following and will be voiced at the next City Council Meeting(s). 

  • Tannery House may have allegedly met some of the criteria for a property that warrants designation under the Ontario Heritage Act but the city has said they do not want to list it or designate it because of cost involved. However it should not be demolished. The house and trees should be preserved as a landmark in Streetsville. Can it be saved under different by law protection? 
  • The development should be stopped on 51 Tannery and modified to preserve the main house and the adjacent duplex that compliments the house and conserve trees on the land for residents use. It should be allowed as heritage conservation area. This represents only a small portion of the development. 
  • The remaining land on 208 Emby Dr. and 57 Tannery St. could still be developed. The city should plan in a non discriminatory manner for all renters threatened with loss of affordable housing. 
  • The safety of the current and potential future residents is implicated as the street will have high density housing traffic. Additional cars will create jams in downtown Streetsville with all the proposed developments happening in the area collectively. It may also spoil the small town Village character. The City does not appear to have considered the collective impact of all the other developments.
  • Strong evidence of conflict of interest exists between tenants and the City/NYX applicants. Despite the rental housing protection by law that should have applied, the permit to demolish one of the rental dwellings containing 3 apartments at 51 Tannery was granted before the application was actually approved.
  • The demolition by surprise appears to be for the purpose of forcing an outcome in favour of the developers and the City. Profit seems to be the only driving factor. Residents are being discouraged from participating in City processes via harassment.   
  • The integrity of the City is questioned, when the rental housing protection bylaw protection ought to be enforced for the benefit of renters in an affordable housing crisis. 

So far, the city seems to have brushed the residents concerns under the carpet and it remains to be seen how the City will resolve what has occurred, enforce the applicable bylaw(s). The City has said in Oct 7th, they would like to see the house saved under another bylaw, but there is no clear path to enforcing that outcome. Developments are also happening all over Streetsville. How can the City possibly serve the people and respect the land by accepting proposals to build townhouses on every single parcel of land?

This is detrimental to many renters and only beneficial to a select population. The developers with the City's permission, are leaving no stones unturned, cramming developments into every square inch, exploiting what's left of the land with more and more condos and townhouses. This will potentially rob Streetsville of it's history and charm. Signing this petition will go towards supporting residents concerns to be taken seriously and have a voice with Mississauga City Counsel. 

Thank you for taking the time to read the petition and we hope you will support & sign for the cause!