Interior of historic Rand house at Niagara-on-the-Lake demolished

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A March 19, 2020 article at the Save Our Rand Estate (SORE) website is entitled: “Interior of Rand house demolished.”

Randwood interior stairs March 9, 2020. Source: March 19, 2020 article at Save Our Rand Estate (SORE) website. Please note: Additional photos are posted at the site.

The full text reads:

SORE’S heritage experts inspected the Rand Estate last week and were shocked and dismayed to discover that virtually the entire interior of the Rand House has been demolished. The house is essentially bare to the studs.

To remind our supporters, the Town’s Municipal Heritage Committee passed a resolution at its March 5, 2018 meeting that “(a) detailed inventory and analysis be provided with regard to interior heritage attributes at the Randwood House”, along with the other structures on the Rand Estate.

Benny Marotta’s consultant did such an inventory shortly thereafter, although it was not disclosed to the Town for many months.

As a result of last week’s inspection, it is clear that some of the important interior heritage attributes that Benny Marotta’s own heritage consultant had recommended be designated and preserved are now gone. See attached photos.

At this point, it is unclear whether the Town had any prior notice of this activity and whether the Town’s consent was sought and received. SORE believes that such authorization was required.

SORE further notes that at its April 16, 2018 meeting, Council explicitly instructed staff “to inform all members of Council of all… activities at any of the Rand Estate properties.” It is clear that the interior demolition of the Rand House was undertaken over a period of time. We seek to understand whether Town staff were aware that this demolition was taking place and failed to advise Council in accordance with this explicit Council direction.

This is an extremely distressing development. Residents will be aware that the Rand House experienced a “flood” over a year ago, which was reportedly only discovered when the Town noticed unusually high water meter readings at the Estate. Repeated questions from SORE to Mr. Marotta’s lawyers about why the flood was not identified first by the Marotta companies and what sort of inspection and monitoring program is in place to protect the Rand Estate have gone unanswered.

It is SORE’s view that any remediation required to address mould issues that may have resulted from this unfortunate episode should have been done in accordance with the recommendations of a specialized mould expert and under the careful supervision of a heritage expert. At this point, we have not been able to confirm if any of this happened. We think it unlikely in the absence of such information that complete demolition of the interior was either necessary or appropriate.

SORE believes that Mr. Marotta’s companies have both a legal and ethical obligation to be proper stewards of this nationally significant cultural heritage resource. Instead, we have the outrageous clear-cutting in November of 2018, for which the Marotta companies are being prosecuted and now the decimation of the interior of the Rand house.

We have asked for answers and action. When we get additional information we will share it.

Thank you for your continued support and stay safe out there.

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