Letter to the editor: HCD’s concerns

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As longtime residents and owners of Kincardine, we are very supportive of conserving and maintaining its heritage and charm.

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However, as owners located in the proposed Heritage Conservation District (DHC), we have serious concerns. Our insurance broker has advised that few companies will insure heritage buildings. As a result, the rates for companies that do this are significantly higher. Some heritage properties have seen their rates increase by 300%.

As part of the existing “Kincardine Heritage”, owners have the option / right to request that their property be designated heritage. Under the HCD, owners do not have a say. Owners within the proposed HCD do not have the opportunity to vote on this proposal. The HCD proposal indicates potential incentives for the maintenance and promotion of the restoration of heritage elements. However, these incentives are not currently in place, and what guarantee is there that they will be available in the future? What would other owners / taxpayers think of the tax increase to keep the HCD going? Would tax rates be reduced to cover increased insurance and maintenance / restoration costs?

At the September 13 council meeting where the HCD was presented, a claim was made that a heritage designation could increase the property’s value. Recently, heritage properties designated in the proposed DCP have been on sale for longer in this current real estate market than non-heritage properties.

Many landowners within HCD are also business owners. The possibility of an increase in insurance and property taxes will jeopardize the survival of these businesses. The increased costs for property owners will be passed on to tenants and business owners through the increase in rents. As we all know, the retail business in the central area is already suffering.

Thanks, Brad and Janice Chalmers


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