Mississauga Developer Looking to Purchase Erindale Community Hall
As if the saga of the soon to be displaced Piatto Restaurant wasn’t already bad enough, things may have just gotten a wee bit worse for the residents living in and around the quaint and quiet Erindale Village community.
The developers who own the lands where Piatto currently still resides, Erindale Village Living Inc (also known as EV Living), recently sent a letter (found in this week’s council meeting agenda) to Paul Mitcham, the City of Mississauga’s Commissioner of Community Services, stating their interest in buying the Erindale Community Hall, currently owned by the city as a Heritage Property.
The letter within the report was sent by Sharief Zaman, the owner of EV Living, to the City of Mississauga. The reasons they cited for requesting to purchase the hall were as follows:
They want to re-position the Heritage Building (Erindale Community Hall) so that it will be raised upwards to match the grade of Dundas and Mindemoya Street. They also want to shift the building closer to Dundas so that it would be more visible as a heritage feature in the community. It was in Zaman’s view that the current location does not generate sufficient prominence of the building for public viewing.
They want to renovate, improve and restore the Heritage Building so that it will be revitalized in the community. currently , the building does not garner regular utilization by the public. Upon the completion of the restoration program, the building will be available for sale or lease to a business operator (which could include the Piatto Restaurant). This will give the building a practical function and will enable the heritage aspects of the building to be better appreciated by the community in the long term as a sustainable public use.
They intend to create a landscaped public space and courtyard behind the Heritage Building which can be used and enjoyed by the local residents and other members of the public.
Erindale also will seek to amend their application for the Project Lands so that the proposed condominium building can be extended onto the Heritage Property.
According to Mitcham, the hall was previously owned by Erindale Village Association (EVA). The City of Mississauga purchased it in November of 2012 for $45,000, which covered the accumulated debt incurred by the EVA for maintenance and operations. Since acquiring the property, the city has already spent $240,000 on building upgrades, including repairing the HVAC, upgrading the building for fire safety, roof and envelope repairs and interior painting. Mitcham added that there was going to be additional work required before any decisions are finalized, such as putting together a heritage impact statement and feasibility study.
Ward 7 Councillor Nando Iannicca, in answering the question from two residents about this proposed sale, said he had attended all the prior meetings and came away with the impression that Zaman’s letter was reflective of what the residents in Erindale Village were telling the developers of where they wished for things to go.
“If that’s not what you want anymore…it seems you need some consistency in what you’re asking,” Iannicca replied to the residents. So it seems there may be some miscommunication within the EVA itself as to what the president or executive of the residents association wants and what some of its other members want.
But let’s focus on two points raised in this letter from Erindale Village Living Inc. There first point about wanting to raise the property to match the grade of the intersection of Dundas and Mindemoya could be seen in the map below, as the hall does reside on a site that looks somewhat sunken below the level of where Mindemoya Street sits.
Zaman writes in his letter “the current location of the property does not generate sufficient prominence of the building for public viewing,” and it is true that if you’re coming from either direction along Dundas Street passing through Erindale Village, the building would be hard to point out, especially during the nighttime. There is also currently construction going along Dundas Street, which contributes to the poor visibility and accessibility of the property.
But it seems that the intention of moving the hall is solely tied into the commercialization of the Erindale Community Hall. Let’s face it, they’re the developers and they need to make a profit off this land, and buying up the adjacent land in order to expand the property’s appeal and amenities is one way of ensuring that happens. But should heritage properties, pieces of Mississauga’s history, be put up for sale in the interest of business? As Erindale resident Terry Murphy said during the council meeting, “this heritage site should not be put up for sale as a private sector commodity.”
The letter doesn’t even provide a decent argument that if they do manage to buy Erindale Hall, that Piatto could go into a redeveloped building. The letter only states “the building will be available for sale or lease to a business operator (which could include the Piatto Restaurant).”
Did Zaman confirm that Piatto would be interested in such a business transaction? The restaurant is one of the few high end restaurants in this particular area, and people were hoping it would remain at the ground level of the new development. But if Zaman is suggesting that it could move into the Erindale Community Hall, what does that really mean for Piatto’s future?
Perhaps a more general question would be how much of our community’s heritage and history are we willing to sacrifice in the name of economic and population growth? Isn’t Erindale Village in the way it is now something worth preserving as a reminder of what Mississauga used to be as Canada’s sixth largest city changes around us?
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Photo courtesy of the City of Mississauga