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This article was published 30/8/2011 (2038 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The city’s heritage building watchdog is renewing its call for government officials to preserve the old Winnipeg airport terminal once its replacement opens later this fall.
In 2009, the Winnipeg Airports Authority cancelled a heritage assessment of the terminal, setting up its eventual demolition schedule.
However, Heritage Winnipeg still believes the building should be saved, as it remains the last airport of its kind and architectural style in Canada.
"There’s a movement across the country to try at all costs to redevelop buildings instead of demolishing them," said Tugwell. "It will cost $10 million to demolish (the airport). From our perspective and an environmental perspective, it doesn’t make sense."
Built between 1961 and 1964, the airport has become popular for its Modernist style of architecture, which rose in popularity after the Second World War.
Governments need to start looking at preserving these buildings, starting with the current Winnipeg terminal, Tugwell said.
"No one has said it’s a heritage building and people don’t think of modern architecture as heritage buildings," she said, adding the city hasn’t been allowed to conduct a heritage review.
"Starting with the airport, we have to consider modern architecture. Because (the airport) is the last one in Canada, it makes it even more significant."
The WAA has owned the airport since 1997, when the federal government transferred responsibility of operating the country’s airports to community corporations.
The heritage assessment was cancelled after Transport Canada determined it was no longer a process required under the Federal Heritage Buildings review office, WAA spokeswoman Christine Alongi said.
Following that, no viable expressions of interest in reusing the building materialized, Alongi said.
"We want to make sure whatever business partnership we invest in is viable so we make a return and continue to grow and be an economic engine to the community," she said.
"It has to be something we both agree will stimulate economy and development and meet our customers needs," she said, adding the only money invested in the airport comes from the money spent at the airport.
The Western Canada Aviation Museum had looked at using the building as a new museum site but determined it didn’t suit its needs, Alongi said.
It plans to build a new museum on the former terminal site, Alongi said.
Officials with the WCAM could not be reached for comment.
Tugwell believes few Winnipeggers know of the old terminal’s fate and is hoping to gain support to make one last effort to save the building.
"There’s hype of the new terminal opening, but not much conversation happening about what is going to happen to the old one," she said.