With one person calling it the most “significant heritage decision that will be made in Richmond Hill in recent history,” dozens of community members made impassioned pleas to preserve the David Dunlap Observatory property at a hearing yesterday.

In a packed room at Richmond Hill Town Centre, the provincial Conservation Review Board opened up part of its fourth day of hearings to hear statements from the public as to why the observatory and its surrounding lands should be afforded heritage designation.

The conservation board will have the difficult task of deciding how much of the 77 hectares, nestled among subdivisions, should be given a cultural landscape designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.