The Wooler School is currently zoned as Community Facility (CF), which does not permit commercial or residential uses. The City of Quinte West supports the present zoning and Jim Harrison, Mayor of Quinte West has stated that “I do not support a zoning change” in respect to Wooler School. WACO does not support a zoning change.
WACO worked closely with the City of Quinte West in having the property added to its Heritage Register under s. 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act as a property of cultural heritage value or interest.
WACO is currently engaged in research and compilation of materials and will seek to have the property fully designated under s. 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.
The Ontario Heritage Act allows municipalities to designate property within their jurisdiction as properties of cultural heritage value or interest. Key points include:
- Attaches to the entire property, and prevents demolition
- Protects the listed heritage attributes of the property identified in the municipality’s Statement of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest prepared for it.
- Process begins by serving a Notice of Intention to Designate the property on the owner, the Ontario Heritage Trust, and publishing notice in the newspaper
- Consent of the owner is not required
For the Wooler School to be designated, the property must meet one of the criteria set out in O. Reg 9/06 under the Ontario Heritage Act:
1. The property has design value or physical value because it,
i. is a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method,
ii. displays a high degree of craftsmanship or artistic merit, or
iii. demonstrates a high degree of technical or scientific achievement.
2. The property has historical value or associative value because it,
i. has direct associations with a theme, event, belief, person, activity, organization or institution that is significant to a community,
ii. yields, or has the potential to yield, information that contributes to an understanding of a community or culture, or
iii. demonstrates or reflects the work or ideas of an architect, artist, builder, designer or theorist who is significant to a community.
3. The property has contextual value because it,
i. is important in defining, maintaining or supporting the character of an area,
ii. is physically, functionally, visually or historically linked to its surroundings, or
iii. is a landmark.
We believe that the property easily meets criteria 1(i), 2(i), and 3(iii) and potentially 2(iii) if the architect can be determined. Note that only one criterion must be found for the property to qualify for designation and heritage protection.
It is a rare, and possibly unique example of the Prairie School of architecture used in an institutional setting. It has direct associations with education in Wooler, both as a school and as a Scout Hall, which is significant for Wooler, the former Township of Murray, and the City of Quinte West. It is well known in the community and clearly serves as a landmark.
If we can prove that the property was designed by Francis Conroy Sullivan, then the Wooler School would also meet the requirements for designation under criterion 2(iii) as it would reflect his work and ideas as an architect. “Community” in this context has been interpreted as an elastic term and can include local, provincial, and even national communities. As the only Canadian student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Sullivan is of great importance both locally, and nationally.
Update: June 9th, 2022
Through funding generously donated by our WACO Membership, we were able to commission a Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report (CHER) on the Wooler Schoolhouse at 62 County Road 5 in the City of Quinte West. The report provides a third party analysis of the heritage value of the Wooler School and concludes that, “In LHC’s professional opinion, the property municipally known as 62 County Road 5, or more commonly known as the Wooler Schoolhouse, meets criteria 1.i., 2.i., 3.i., 3.ii., and 3.iii. of Ontario Regulation 9/06. The Property is eligible for designation under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act for its design and physical value, historical or associative value, and its contextual value.”
Sign our online petition if you support a heritage designation for the Wooler School and believe it should remain zoned for community use.