A long battle between a London, Ont. developer, a community heritage group and city hall over the property at 467-469 Dufferin Ave. has come to a close.
After a ruling by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), only one of the three parties involved in the fight is happy with the final outcome.
In late January, LPAT gave demolition approval for the site. It brought to a close a three-year long fight to save the building.
The Historic Woodfield Community Association is disappointed that the province ruled against them, and city hall.
"It was overwhelming the heritage and historical value of that building," says the association’s former heritage chairperson Gil Warren.
"This tribunal just turned around and ignored that. If you read through the ruling, it’s as if they just talked to developer and then also overruled city council."
Warren and the association argued at an LPAT hearing that the building dated back to the 1880s and was a former headquarters of the London Labour Council. His neighbourhood is a designated heritage district and he calls the area 'a living museum.'
His association is in a "constant struggle against developers," he says, adding they want to tear down heritage homes and build concrete apartment buildings.
The city's planning committee agreed in January of 2018 that 467-469 Dufferin Ave. should stay.
"This is an incredible important site to our city, and it should remain," said Tanya Park, former city councillor, at that time. "Hopefully investment will go into this building in the future, and we'll see more life in it.
However developer Ben Lansink appealed, and took the city before LPAT. He wanted to build 12 micro-units.
LPAT recently ruled in his favour and gave demolition approval, and an interim order to allow the building of nine bachelor apartments.
When reached by phone Wednesday, Lansink was hesitant to provide reaction. "The only comment I can make is to say it is positive, there is no question about that."
The final decision was a long-awaited one.
The LPAT hearing was in March of 2019, but a backlog at the tribunal kept the developer, the city and the community association waiting until just a couple weeks ago.
Ward 13 Coun. Arielle Kayabaga says in a statement to CTV News she believes the city still has options.
"It is my understanding that this can be challenged through the court division, or by asking LPAT to review the decision," says Kayabaga. "This is an ongoing issue that needs an immediate address."