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This article was published 11/1/2017 (190 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The historic stone fence at the corner of Princess Avenue and 17th Street is in need of major repair.
Members of the Brandon Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee made a plea to council to include the municipal heritage site in its 2017 budget.
"The committee is requesting $110,000 be set aside in the 2017 budget," said Dave Hughes, MHAC member. "That will allow us to repair the 150 feet of fence behind 143 on 18th Street."
Hughes acknowledged it is a "hefty" price tag, but urged councillors to do the work necessary to protect a piece of heritage.
The stone fence, made primarily of limestone, was constructed over a period of four years starting around 1900.
It was built to surround the property of Charles Whitehead, who served on the board of directors for what was known then as the Brandon Daily Sun.
His son, Joseph Blyth Whitehead, would later become owner of the newspaper.
Over time, Whitehead’s property was split into several properties to enable further urban development. The stone fence now runs behind six properties, two of them commercial and four residential. A portion of the fence, along Princess Avenue, was restored 20 years ago. The area in need of attention is located behind the properties of 143 and 145 18th St. It was designated a municipal heritage site in 2002.
It is experiencing damage due in large part to two large trees, as the roots are causing the structure to heave.
"The damage is severe enough that one of the stones is missing. Administration is concerned the continued leaning of the fence presents an increasing public safety risk due to a possible collapse," states the MHAC report to council.
The requested funding would go toward the removal of the trees, as well as taking down the fence piece by piece to be numbered and catalogued so it can be restored to its original condition.
"The base will be substantially enhanced, to protect the fence and make sure that it stays up for at least another hundred and some odd years," Hughes said.
Coun. Jeff Harwood (University), a co-chair of the MHAC, said the fence is a "piece of Brandon’s history" as it represents what is left of the original estate on 17th Street between Rosser Avenue and Princess Avenue.
"It’s kind of an eye-catcher … the only block that’s like this in the entire city," Harwood said.
Under the Heritage Resources Act, the city has a responsibility to maintain a designated heritage site. Harwood is hopeful council will include this project in the 2017 budget, even if it is by using a phased approach.
"Do we do it all at once or do we do it in stages?" he said. "If the decision is to go in stages, then the first stage would be to remove the trees."
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