Vote on heritage designation for Winnipeg neighbourhood worries developers

Councillors at Winnipeg city hall are set to vote on a plan that could see a heritage designation put in place in a neighbourhood, limiting development in the area.

City planners are recommending a heritage conservation district designation for the Crescentwood-Enderton Park area. The plan would restrict demolitions in some cases, and require homeowners to get special heritage permits for specific changes.

Christine Skene lives in a century-old home in the area and says she grew up on a farm just as old.

“I like the fact that we keep connected to our roots,” she told CTV News.

Her house is surrounded by large ones just like hers and she wants to keep it that way.

“If we just let them get eaten up and torn apart, it will be gone,” she said.

The city’s property committee is set to vote on the heritage conservation district designation for the Crescentwood-Enderton Park neighbourhood, which includes 110 properties.

City planners are recommending a heritage conservation district designation for the Crescentwood-Enderton Park area. (Source: Jeff Keele/ CTV News Winnipeg)

The designation, according to a city report, aims at keeping the area’s garden-like setting.

This follows the controversial demolition of 514 Wellington Crescent in 2020, which residents had lobbied unsuccessfully to save.

“If we waited for every individual property to be designated, it wouldn’t happen in my lifetime,” said Cindy Tugwell, the executive director of Heritage Winnipeg.

The designation places restrictions on what changes can be made to the outside of the properties.

If approved, a building deemed heritage couldn’t be demolished unless it’s structurally unsound or no longer has heritage value.

Special heritage permits would be needed to construct a new building on a property in specified locations, for the installation or removal of public features like fencing and light poles, and for making changes to front, side and corner yard dimensions.

“It’s just another hoop for developers like myself to jump through,” said Evan Roskosz, owner of Paris Developments.

He said limitations like these will make it harder to do infill projects and build multi-family homes, and worries it could set a precedent.

“If this happens all over the city, where does the creek stop essentially? Who’s next?”

Crescentwood would be the city’s second heritage conservation district following Armstrong’s Point. Heritage Winnipeg is pushing for the Exchange District to also be added to the list.

“(It has) the highest concentration of built heritage in the city and one of the least protected,” Tugwell said.

The property committee meeting is set for Thursday. If it passes, the plan would then have to go through the mayor’s executive police committee and city council. 

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