It is useful for us who labour in the field of built heritage conservation to be reminded that in Old World countries that have a longer history of preservation than we do, their fight to save the visible signposts to our mutual past is little different than the obstacles we encounter here in the New World.
A community-based campaign is fighting to prevent one of my birthplace, Edinburgh’s, oldest surviving walled gardens from being lost to a luxury housing development. Granton is an ancient settlement on the south shore of the Firth of Forth and the Granton walled garden has a history dating back to 1479. To build 17 luxury homes to obliterate a such a gem seems ridiculous, but urban planners have designated Granton waterfront for redevelopment.
It seems to me that our provincial government’s intention to cut a wide swath right through the Peel White Belt with its productive farms and historic villages, to allow a major future road and rail transportation network development, is in the same category of a regional urbanization planning juggernaut overriding the local consensus. This giant corridor is to be wider than anything we have seen up to now, and is designed to accommodate a population surge that current residents are too few to have the voter power to resist. Though vigorous municipal push-back against the West GTA Corridor seems to have put the process in abeyance for a while, this biggest-ever threat to our way of life here in the hills will not go away without a radical shift in political perspective.
Ian Keith Anderson