News / Winnipeg

Heritage Winnipeg praises new bylaw for historic buildings

The way in which the City of Winnipeg deals with historic buildings has received an overhaul that’s long overdue, according to the head of a local heritage group.

Cindy Tugwell, executive director of Heritage Winnipeg, told members of the downtown development committee on Monday that her organization supports the new Historic Resources Bylaw.

“I know it’s been long in coming, is an understatement, right? We think it’s a good bylaw, a good start,” said Tugwell, adding her group wants to partner with the city to get the information out, since the report was only placed on the city’s website on Friday — not giving enough time for the “heritage community” to digest it.

“I think that’s going to come from working closer with the department and we stress that today, that the implementation of these bylaws is not going to be easy, so I would offer that we come back to the table and have those discussions to see how we can do that within the timeframe that’s been given.”

Among the aspects of the proposed Historic Resources Bylaw are new processes for listing and de-listing of properties, fairness for owners, transparency for the public, heritage permits, and fees and offences.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) said the previous Historical Buildings Bylaw, which was passed in 1978, had been under review for well over a decade.

“We’ve probably been talking about it longer, before the review started,” said Gerbasi, who was involved in discussions during the 15 years she’s chaired the historic buildings committee.

She then joked that, “we’re rushing this almost the way we’re rushing rapid transit.”

Gerbasi said she believes this new bylaw will address “demolition by neglect,” which is when owners of heritage buildings allow the edifices to decay to the point where the only option is demolition.

The Historic Resources Bylaw still requires the approval of executive policy committee and council.

The proposed new by-law will:

  • Incorporate and align with up-to-date best practices for heritage conservation;
  • Improve public access to and transparency of the process of listing and de-listing buildings;
  • Ensure fairness, clarity and certainty throughout the process of reviewing and listing historical resources.

Source: City of Winnipeg

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