November 9 2012
A historic post office on Yonge St., near Eglinton Ave., has been sold to a private developer, despite months of protest from local residents.
The group, which collected 10,000 signatures in favour of saving the building, received word Friday that Postal Station K has been sold to the Rockport Group with no guarantee the developer will protect the historic integrity of the building, MPP Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence) said.
The spot once served as the site of Montgomery’s Tavern, the headquarters of William Lyon MacKenzie, leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion.
And if Colle has it his way, it won’t be the last rebellion to take root here.
It’s not clear what the developer plans to do with the property, but it won’t be a post office for much longer. A sign is posted in the building to notify customers the post office will be relocating.
Jack Winberg, CEO of the Rockport Group, extended an olive branch to the community and said he wants to work with the residents to find a suitable solution to develop the heritage site.
“We know it’s a special site,” Winberg said. “I’ve been reading the press, I know there are a number of constituencies that think the building is important and I agree … but I want consult with the community, the planners and try to come up with a plan that works for everybody.”
“We’d like to be able to do what we can to preserve the front of the building, the true heritage part of the building. Maybe the back will go and we’ll put a condo of some kind behind it,” Winberg added.
A group of residents is vowing to continue to fight to maintain the historic integrity of the building and public access to it.
“It was sold like a piece of meat,” Colle said outside Postal Station K on Friday afternoon.
A Canada Post representative met with residents just days ago, but Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton stressed at the time that no guarantees were.
Now that the federal government no longer owns the building, the city will move to have it designated historic by the Heritage Preservation Board.
City councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Paul’s) said he thinks the building will receive designation, but that the city’s heritage policies lack teeth and may not be able to protect it. He called it a travesty that the building would be sold without a condition to maintain its historic integrity.
The man perhaps most disappointed by Friday’s announcement was George Butterwick, who sat outside the post office every day this summer, collecting signatures to save it. In the process, he said it’s become his second home.
“I hate like hell to see it go because it’s a landmark, something we should be proud of,” the retired firefighter said.
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