Skyline Ribbon Cutting at Gummer, Victoria and Stewart Buildings

September 30, 2013

Arts, Sport, Heritage & Culture

I remember the call in the middle of the night that the Gummer Building was on fire.  If the winds did not co-operate, I was advised we might need to call out the Emergency Operations Control Group because of the threat to other buildings on Douglas Street.  The winds changed but the fate of the Gummer Building seemed sealed. 

I remember the shock the next day.  People had lost their businesses and homes.   At that time many were pessimistic about the future of these heritage buildings.

Fortunately, Skyline stepped up to redevelop the property and the City was able to provide some support to them to achieve their goals for the property.

There has been a lot of new investment in the downtown recently and some of it has over-shadowed this project.  However, it really stands as the first major investment in executing our vision for the downtown.

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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4 Comments on “Skyline Ribbon Cutting at Gummer, Victoria and Stewart Buildings”

  1. Brian Pittana Says:

    I like to see successes like this in a community. Preserving architectural heritage is paramount to a city’s functional and aesthetic future.

  2. marcel Says:

    another screw up by the city to spend taxpayers money.
    When will we ever learn

  3. KFarbridge Says:

    Projects like this are funded through the Heritage Redevelopment Reserve.

    When a property is under-utilized, or in this case destroyed by fire, the property taxes the City receives are extremely low. It is in the community’s benefit to see properties like this redeveloped so their assessment value increases. Increased assessment helps to fund existing services that continue to run by the property (e.g. water, waste water, sidewalks, roads, winter maintenance).

    Essentially the program provides an incentive for redevelopment by using the increased taxes that will come from redevelopment – money the City would not see without the development. Those increased taxes are used for a defined period of time after which they flow to the City. The projects have to be complete and their value confirmed through re-assessment before the incentives start to be paid. The City is well protected by this approach to linked grant programs to real financial growth.

    In this case, a valuable heritage asset was preserved. The private sector makes a significant capital investment in the downtown. The City realizes an increase in the long-term assessed value of the property. New commercial activity contributes to a strong local economy. And residents support the renewal of the downtown.

    It is a win for everyone.

  4. marcel Says:

    thank you for the explanation..

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