Fairbank Mansion. Photo Submitted by Dave Hext.

Future Of Fairbank House Still In Limbo

The future of the historic Fairbank House is still up in the air after Petrolia Council decided to seek designation for the property under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Mayor John McCharles says property owner David Burnie gave council three options as he tries to build a 16-unit apartment building on the site.

Council decided allowing an addition on the current building would be the best option, but the Heritage designation is a sticking point for any restoration.

“Mr. Burnie is totally opposed to any Heritage designation right now,” says McCharles. “I think maybe council may reconsider, because we just don’t want the building sit and have no work done to it. I think it’s something council should reconsider and work with Mr. Burnie to try to preserve the building.”

The mansion was built 130 years ago by oil baron John Henry Fairbank but was damaged by fire in 2002.

Burnie’s plans for a multi-unit apartment building on the five acre site have been put on hold until the Ontario Municipal Board rules on an appeal of a Committee of Adjustment decision to allow two structures on one lot.

Council decided that allowing an expansion of the current building was the best option but the project is still in limbo.