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BEHIND THE SCENES: Legal Advice to be sought by city council regarding Avon Crest property

StratfordToday reporter Connor Luczka takes us behind the scenes

Delegates are calling for a heritage designation for Stratford's first hospital, Avon Crest, after the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) announced a new long-term care facility would be built on the site. HPHA and Revera Canada have plans for a 128-bed facility to be built after the circa. 1891 hospital is torn down.

The Save Avon Crest group and other delegates want the building saved and a heritage designation and subsequent retrofit of the aging structure. Some reasons for saving the building include environmental impacts, saving more than 100,000 kg of embodied carbon from entering the atmosphere if it is demolished. The HPHA has been open to many plans, but no serious plan has been provided to them about saving the building. The council will seek legal advice on the ramifications of designating the hospital as a heritage site under Bill 23, The More Homes Built Faster Act.
The agreement with Revera will create increased local capacity while improving hospital care by freeing up beds for patients waiting for surgeries or admission in the emergency department. Tenders for demolition closed at the end of March, and demolition of the property could start in late spring or early summer.  
Video Summary:

The town of Stratford is planning to replace its old long-term care facility, Avon Crest, with a new one as it has not been meeting the needs of the hospital alliance and is slowly crumbling. The cost of bringing it up to code would be $24 million, and even then, it would not meet all of the needs of the hospital. The decision to demolish the building has been met with pushback from the community, with a citizen group, Save Avon Crest, working to designate the building as a heritage site.

The Save Avon Crest group has been working to educate the community about the importance of preserving the building as a heritage site, as heritage is a crucial factor of Stratford's charm and identity. However, the construction of more homes under the Faster Act could impact the process of designating the hospital as a heritage building, as it changes the Ontario Heritage Act. The City Council is currently looking into this issue, and the next steps include receiving legal advice and working to preserve some of the building's history.

The Health Partners Home Care Alliance has mentioned that they are working to keep some of Avon Crest's history alive by preserving items and working with local groups. The President, Andrew Williams, values heritage in the city and has stated that they do not want to demolish the building for the sake of demolishing it. However, they need to meet the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance's needs. The story is far from over, and the City Council and Save Avon Crest group are continuing to work towards a resolution.