London City Hall: Council sides with moving heritage home at 100 Stanley St.

The house at 100 Stanley St. has got to go.

That’s the word from city council, after a years-long battle to save the century-old heritage home that’s threatened by a $39-million road widening and bridge repair.

Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to move Nan Finlayson’s house to a vacant lot across the street writes

“It was a tough decision,” said Coun. Anna Hopkins, one of only two councillors to speak to the controversial decision on Tuesday.

“The heritage in that area is unbelievable, and they do treasure their heritage. I’m glad to know that the house is still going to be there.”

Relocating Finlayson’s house is a compromise city staff outlined in the environmental assessment for a massive repair project on Wharncliffe Road South that will close the road for months. Construction is expected to begin in 2021.

The project centres around a $16-million replacement for the CN Rail bridge at Wharncliffe Road and Horton Street, a pinch point that bottlenecks traffic on one of the city’s key north-south corridors. The fix is complex, and construction needs to happen almost right on top of Finlayson’s house.

Moving the home is the only option, outside of demolition, and will cost the city an extra $500,000.

Last week Finlayson vowed to fight the city’s decision.

But she doesn’t have too many options left.

The environmental assessment that council approved now moves to a 30-day review period. Finlayson can raise red flags with the provincial Ministry of the Environment, but it has to be a problem with the city’s process, not a concern about the outcome of the project.

Under expropriation rules, the city has to pay Finlayson fair market value for her property. She could appeal that decision, but it’s a question of the price, not the expropriation itself, city staff said.

“I don’t have deep pockets, so I can’t defend my house and my property,” she told The Free Press after city politicians recommended relocating the house last week.

“I kept digging my head into the sand and hoping things would be different.”

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