Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bold plan, no planning

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Re: Bold new plan for pumphouse (Aug. 7). The proposal to build a highrise building in the Exchange District reveals yet again the lack of long-term planning in Winnipeg, where proposals are approved out of desperation.

Developers say concerns about height would centre on the building being "incompatible with the area," but this evades a litany of concerns about building heights. Indeed, many thoughtful administrators and politicians in other cities have specified height restrictions on developments, especially along sensitive boundaries with rivers, lakes and parks.

If this tower is allowed, other developers could hardly be faulted for expecting the same treatment. City development is one area where precedent does create slippery slopes.

And all this has serious implications for development of properties behind the proposed building.

It does the Exchange and Winnipeg a disservice to have new structures concentrated along Waterfront Drive and creating a ghetto of the historical buildings, which can no longer be developed because sightlines have been obstructed.

Nor is it clear what impact such highrises would have on the once-continuous Stephen Juba Park, just a few metres away, and well within the shadow of tall buildings. It is bad enough already that the city capitulated to developers by allowing a hotel to destroy the continuity of the Red River waterfront.

I have lived in the Exchange for over 20 years and certainly want to see the potential of the area realized. But intelligent development does not undermine efforts to develop heritage buildings, nor does it destroy the character of the area or some of its prime attractions, such as Juba Park.

Jim Clark

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2013 $sourceSection0

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