News / Winnipeg

No need to fear Heritage Conservation Districts, says Armstrong’s Point rep

The quest to make Armstrong’s Point the first Heritage Conservation District in Winnipeg got a significant boost on Monday, as a city committee gave the project its blessing.

Jim Fielder, chair of the Armstrong’s Point residents’ association, told councillors on the downtown development and heritage committee that his group has been working towards this conservation dream for much of the decades since its formation in 1950.

Fielder said after the meeting that the district designation is “very near and dear to the hearts of the community” because it means the area will continue to be a tourist destination and as a location for films. Many of the homes there are among the oldest in Winnipeg — including one from 1880.

“We stressed the fact that it is part of the overall fabric of the city and it should be celebrated,” said Fielder, adding that they’re looking closely at the example of the Rosedale neighbourhood in Toronto.

“(It’s) a very successful Heritage Conservation District and is now one of the leading areas in the City of Toronto to live in and to purchase a house, and that the property values have skyrocketed.”

The committee accepted the city’s report that called for the public service to further develop criteria for creating HCDs, including the pilot project in Armstrong’s Point, which is located just east of Misericordia Hospital and is also known as ‘The Gates.’

Fielder said people don’t have to be afraid of this new type of community designation.

“This is what we’ve stressed with the residents: just because you’re a historical conservation district doesn’t mean that you can’t paint your house,” he added.

“It isn’t against development, it’s development in a particular manner, in a planned manner and in an area that’s conducive to the whole neighbourhood, not just for each individual property.

“Are we anti-development? No. We appreciate the fact that people will want to add garages, add a deck or something like that, it’s not about that, but it’s maintaining the integral nature of the streetscape, the housing, the parks, the tree cover.”

John Kiernan, manager of urban design, said the next step is to hire a consulting firm to finalize the HCD criteria and report back to the committee by September.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry), who has long been an advocate for the preservation of buildings, said she was very happy to see this progress.

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