U of M agrees buildings historic but opposes official designation
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/12/2018 (1562 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Some of the province’s most beautiful and historically significant buildings are located on the University of Manitoba’s campuses, but its administration is opposed to having three of them designated for protection under the city’s heritage bylaw.
The U of M has filed a formal objection to a proposal from the city’s historical buildings and resources committee to place three buildings on its list: the main Administration Building and the John A. Russell Building, which houses the architecture faculty, both at the Fort Garry campus; and its medical services building at 750 Bannatyne Ave., which opened in 1906 as the Manitoba Medical College.
The university claims it recognizes the architectural and heritage significance of the buildings and is committed to protecting them without the need to be formally included on the city’s list.
“(The administration’s) letter of objection makes no sense,” said Cindy Tugwell, executive director of Heritage Winnipeg, adding the U of M’s description of the buildings “is stunning,” and goes into greater detail than the report to the historical buildings committee.
Tugwell said the U of M appears to be an ideal owner and she doesn’t understand what’s behind the opposition.
“They say in their own materials that any work they do would be sensitive to the character-defining heritage and architectural elements… so why would they oppose the designation? If I had to cut to the chase, I’d think the university just doesn’t want their hands tied,” she said.
In a written response to the committee, the university said earlier this year it had developed its own historical significance documentation, which details the character-defining elements of the buildings.
“These documents were developed and are now followed by (U of M) Architectural & Engineering Services and Operations and Maintenance Departments, within Physical Plant to ensure the exterior and interior to historic character of these buildings are considered, protected and preserved during any alterations,” states Jaret Klymchuk, the U of M architect and director of the university’s architectural and engineering services division.
A university spokesman did not respond when asked by the Free Press why it opposes the designation when it’s committed to preserving the buildings.
The historical buildings and resources committee is an advisory group whose membership includes several local architects, landscape architects and engineers. It regularly reviews buildings across Winnipeg for inclusion on the historic list, which prevents the structures from demolition and requires permits for alterations to any of the identified character-defining elements.
The committee meets Thursday to consider the U of M properties.
While the committee meetings are public, no presentations from owners are allowed to be considered. Owners who object to a listing must attend meetings of the property and development committee, which reviews the recommendations from the historical buildings committee.
If the building owner disputes inclusion of the building on the list of historical resources, a vote of council is required to determine the building’s status. With the owner’s support, the decision of the property and development committee is final.
The next meeting of the property and development committee is Jan. 7.
Tugwell said owners of historical buildings are eligible for heritage grants to cover additional costs of repairing or renovating the heritage elements. In severe situations, she added, the building owners can apply to have the structures delisted if structural damage of a catastrophic nature occurs.