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Municipal Fee Fund for Ham House

$3,525 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 50 people in 12 months
Bonnie Crook is an art educator and I am an engineer, both with an interest in history and our built heritage.

Ham House is a timber frame building constructed 1816 in the Village of Bath, Ontario.  Though designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act,  the building was under threat of demolition with the municipality moving in 2010 to remove its heritage-designation. This strategy came out of frustration with the poor condition of the building and the odd belief that heritage-designation was somehow preventing the owner from maintaining the property.  We bought Ham House, opposed de-designation and restored it to its original glory. With the help of extremely dedicated community volunteers, Bonnie and I did all the work ourselves. Most notable was the heavy foundation work and restoration of the east facade that had been stripped off in 1896. An added bonus was that the interior was largely intact from 1816, containing both a store and a residence. You can read the story of the building, the many finds and of the restoration itself at www.hamhousebath.com.  For more pictures see our facebook page: www.facebook.com/hamhousebath.


Bath is located on Lake Ontario half way between Kingston and picturesque Prince Edward County. Situated prominently at the main intersection, our objective was to demonstrate the cultural and economic value of early buildings by establishing Ham House as a regional destination and dynamic business.

We have identified a pub/restaurant as an ideal re-purposing of the building, offering the public a unique opportunity to experience both the dramatic exterior and spectacular surviving store and residence within.

Loyalist Township informed us that to make this transition from a triplex to a restaurant, the municipal fees would be $50,727.91. This is more than 35% of what we paid for the property and is on top of many development fees already paid. Through discussion we have had the fees reduced to about $25,000, more in-line with surrounding municipalities, but this is still a considerable amount of money given the scale of the project.

This funding drive is to raise the money to pay the municipal fees so we can move forward on our business plan and complete restoration of the entire site. Even very small contributions are greatly appreciated.
The end result will be a proclamation of the value of built heritage and will likely have a catalyzing affect on revitalization of the entire village. Its success will hopefully encourage the restoration of other War of 1812-era buildings, dilapidated, but still standing in Bath. This unique building will educate and enrich generations to come.
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In gratitude for the overwhelming support we have received, we invite you to drop by the house from 4-6pm on Saturday November 18th. There will be hot cider, some photos of the restoration work, and an opportunity to have a peek at the interior of this remarkable building.
Kitchen restored
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The saga of trying to take Ham House from a collapsing rooming house to a sustainable destination continues...

I have just been informed that Loyalist Township Council did not pass the amendment that was in the agenda. Though I was in the room, I can be excused for being confused as others had the same experience. Apparently Council had met in private and decided on the outcome before the public meeting. The motion on items 1-3 on Item 10.4 of the agenda were passed in public so quickly it was unclear what had happened.

The motion that was on the agenda with respect to heritage buildings was as follows:

3. That an amendment be made to By-law Number 2016-020 (a by-law establishing fees and charges to pay for the capital cost of water works and sewer works in the Fairfield water service area, Loyalist east sewage service area and Bath service area) to allow properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act to have payment of fees and charges deferred until the occupancy of the building.

The motion passed by Council on September 25 was as follows:

3. That Council authorize staff to proceed, as time permits, with determining a process for deferring the payment of fees and charges until occupancy permit is issued.

In short, we are back to where we were 6 months ago.

Given the change of wording, it would appear Council has no appreciation for the challenges maintaining a sustainable inventory of heritage buildings. The only possible long term outcome of this approach will be the clearing of the many 200+ year old buildings on Main Street in Bath and the construction of strip malls.
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I am very pleased to announced that Loyalist Township Council has amended by-law 2016-020 to defer impost fees for designated heritage properties until the business opens. Of course we will still need to pay the fee, but this does help give us a path forward.

Thank you everyone for your support. Let's hope this great weather keeps up late into the fall!
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One of the largest fees preventing us from moving forward with Ham House are the impost fees meant to cover development of water and sewer service in the village. At their last meeting the Loyalist Township Heritage Committee recommended that impost fees for developments on designated heritage properties be deferred to when a business opens.

Given Council has an easement on these properties and that owners have an obligation to preserve and maintain heritage features, it is common for designated property owners to encounter delays not found with regular properties. Often demolition and new construction is more cost effective than restoration. The recommendation to defer the impost fee by the Heritage Committee should help level the playing field.

The Heritage Committee recommendation to amend by-law 2016-020 will likely go to Loyalist Township Council at the next council meeting: Sept 25, 2017 at 7pm in the Odessa Council Chambers. If you support this amendment that should promote the preservation of our heritage properties, please attend the meeting to encourage Council to pass the proposed amendment. The agenda should be available by Friday and we’ll keep you posted.
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$3,525 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 50 people in 12 months
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BM
$25
Barbara Monk
7 months ago
ES
$100
Elaine Stillwell
7 months ago
FM
$100
Flavia Morden
7 months ago
$100
Erika Dilworth
8 months ago
HF
$200
Helen Finley
8 months ago
DM
$100
David Martin
8 months ago
SJ
$100
Stefan Jendersie
9 months ago
SS
$50
Sandra Steinhause
9 months ago
$50
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9 months ago
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