Group occupying St. Brigid’s Calls claims it broke heritage law

Eviction notices taped to the door of a historic Lowertown church say members of the United People of Canada (TUPC) violated the province’s Heritage Act, but the group, which continues to remain at St. Brigid’s despite current owners’ attempts to change the locks, disagrees.

The Freedom Convoy-linked group first raised eyebrows in the neighborhood when they hung large banners with white tree badges on them and painted the doors of the heritage building red.

He has occupied the disused church for months, as tenants and according to one of the group’s leaders as potential owners via a conditional sale agreement.

That changed on Wednesday when the sale collapsed and eviction notices were issued announcing the termination of the lease due to $10,000 in unpaid rent and failure to provide liability insurance in the amount of 5 millions of dollars.

The building has now been relisted, but TUPC members show no signs of leaving.

A bailiff hired by the current owners first appeared to change the locks on Wednesday and has been showing up periodically since at 310 St. Patrick Street. The locks were changed at the Rectory Art House next door on Thursday.

William Komer, one of the directors of the United People of Canada, says there were violations before the TUPC moved in (Francis Ferland/CBC)

These written opinions have also say that the TUPC is in violation of the Ontario Heritage Act for altering the appearance of the premises without the written approval of the Ontario Heritage Foundation, as well as the Ontario Building Code Act “for having failed to obtain necessary permits and approvals for construction work” on the site.

One of the main organizers and directors of the TUPC, William Komer, says this is the latest tactic by the owners of St. Brigid to “unlawfully evict” the group.

“Is that stuff posted there, their stuff that has to be compliant, or is that something they’re trying to pin on us? I don’t know. Okay. But I know we don’t. haven’t done any substantial renovations,” Komer said.

He says all the violations were there before the TUPC moved in.

“We weren’t doing anything wrong. We’re violating any business license, anything like that, any catering service.”

“We have honored all of our rent obligations,” Komer told CBC News, but did not show evidence, citing confidentiality concerns.

St. Brigid’s heritage status includes the interior

St. Brigid’s is unusual in its heritage status because the designation includes a requirement to protect its interior, according to Heritage Ottawa, a volunteer-run group that champions historic buildings in the nation’s capital.

These interior features include wainscoting, pews and confessionals.

Heritage Ottawa wrote a letter to the city asking it to ensure that the “special character-defining elements” of the building are preserved.

“Can you please reassure us that the city will rigorously enforce the heritage protections granted to this property and how it intends to do so?” reads the letter.

Several vehicles bearing stickers related to the Freedom Convoy remained in the parking lot of St. Brigid’s Church Wednesday night after an apparent eviction attempt earlier that evening. (Falice Chin/Radio Canada)

CBC visited the building on Friday and noticed no substantial changes to the interior, although the exterior doors had been painted red — with the owners’ permission, Komer says — and a damaged concrete floor in the basement. floor appears to have been repaired.

The property would require a permit before undergoing any alterations to the interior or exterior of the building — but doors do not need to be painted, according to the city.

“I have a pretty good passion for historic properties and restoration and preservation and that sort of thing,” Komer said. “I have extensive experience working in heritage properties and go back as far as ten years at this point.”

TUPC showed willingness to make necessary repairs

The property is subject to an outstanding order – issued in March – to repair broken windows and address molding issues in the east tower.

Roger Chapman, director of municipal and regulatory services, said in a statement that the changes needed to be made to preserve the property’s heritage attributes.

Bylaw met with members of the TUPC on Monday when they were about to take over ownership of the building to explain the need for the repairs, Chapman wrote.

As the order had recently been registered on title, Chapman said any future owners of the property would be required to comply.

They “expressed their intent to comply with all city by-laws and remedy the deficiencies listed on the ordinance,” he wrote.

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