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Farmhouse fate at hand

The future of the Wilson farmhouse remains up in the air, with nine days to go until the city’s deadline for submitting proposals on its future. However, it’s heartening that at least one solid proposal should be on the table next week in response to the city’s call for Expressions of Interest – namely, turning the farmhouse into a community centre and “green living showroom.”
This might not be the only proposal city hall gets. And, in the end, it might not be judged a good enough proposal to convince council that the farmhouse shouldn’t be demolished – the fate recommended by city staff in September. But it’s good to know that city hall will have a meaty proposal to consider.
The team of self-described “experienced social entrepreneurs” behind this proposal have been doing the right things so far. They held a meeting in the Wilson Farm Park neighbourhood last Thursday where residents could suggest ideas for community use of the building – and many did. The team has an online survey on the go for neighbours, running to March 14.
In short, the backers of the proposal are engaging the Ward 2 community near the park, where a lot of hostility has existed about the way the city has handled the Wilson farmhouse issue over the years. It seems to be a smart move, but no doubt vigorous opposition remains.
The proposal that’s being promoted by this team of social entrepreneurs is similar to one that Ward 2 councillor Ian Findlay has been pushing for a couple of years.  Findlay voted in November against the option of severing and selling the farmhouse for residential use, as did Ward 2’s Coun. Andy Van Hellemond. However, this option remains on the table, as a result of a 7-6 council vote.
Will city hall end up getting any sever-and-sell proposals? Will it get any other proposals for community use, with the city retaining ownership, aside from the one that’s now getting a lot of attention? We’ll know pretty soon.

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