Residents of a Nepean neighbourhood are in a race against time to save a heritage estate from redevelopment, but it's going to cost them.
For years, neighbours fought to save Kilmorie House and its wooded grounds at 21 Withrow Ave., near Merivale Road, but the property was rezoned for infill homes last fall.
Now, the developer has agreed to give the community one last chance to buy the property for $3.75 million. City lawyers estimate that purchase price would rise to $4.5 million once land transfer taxes and a renovation budget for the heritage home are figured in.
According to a report prepared for the city's finance and economic development committee, that would cost 3,307 nearby homeowners an average annual levy of $123 for 10 years.
The catchment area would include homes between Merivale Road to the east, Woodroffe Avenue to the west, Baseline Road to the north and a railway corridor to the south.
The developer's plan includes renovating Kilmorie House, once home to Confederation Poet William Wilfred Campbell, and turning it into a private family home.
The City View Community Association would like to see it become a cultural centre with arts classes and activities for seniors, and president Joan Clark wants to see its spacious grounds preserved as a much-needed park.
"You walk through the big old trees and it's like a magic land, and you're a block away from Merivale," Clark said. "If you look at a map of this area, it's park-poor."
Developer Joey Theberge of Theberge Homes said the community has asked for more time to vote on the levy, which would be similar to ones in Barrhaven for the Stonebridge Golf Club, and in Kanata North to kill off mosquitoes.
"If it takes me three months to wait for them to do this, it's the least I can do," Theberge said. "If they happen to come up with the funds to purchase, I think it's a great location for a park. It's a great location for an upscale neighbourhood as well."
Theberge Homes agreed to hold off on construction until mid-April, as long as residents agreed not to challenge the zoning at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which they have not.
A public meeting on the levy will take place at Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at City View United Church.