By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Reports are often bounced back and forth between city entities like a ping poll ball, but one particular item recently drew great attention from a local resident.
At the latest development services committee meeting, resident David Smith addressed councillors on staff recommending committee refer a heritage research report to Heritage Oshawa for comment.
The heritage report in question addresses the property and home at 494 King Street East, known affectionately to local residents as “The White House,” or “The Rogers House.”
The home and surrounding property have been the centre of numerous development proposals over the past few years drawing the ire of some area neighbours, including Smith.
The latest proposal from the landowner would see the lot divided into four pieces, the historic home moved to another corner and three more two-storey buildings added.
In a March 2018 meeting, Durham Region’s land division committee tabled the proposal for “up to” two years.
Heritage Oshawa, which originally gave approval to the proposal, later switched its viewpoint and recommended the heritage research report.
It was also recommended the property be added to the city’s non-designated heritage registry.
The second suggestion was later tabled by Oshawa’s development services committee.
However, Smith could not understand why the heritage report had somehow made its way to that same committee.
“Committee and council have no role in referring this report. You have no carriage in this report,” Smith said, claiming the report had been “taken hostage.”
Smith also questioned why city staff had not suggested lifting Heritage Oshawa’s non-designated registry recommendation off the table as well.
He went on to accuse city staff of using the report to “promote the development” of what he calls a “marquee heritage property.”
“Staff is going for a mulligan,” he alleged.
Director of development services Paul Ralph denied staff was trying to “influence Heritage Oshawa one way or another.”
“Staff is not promoting anything,” Ralph stated.