Heritage Regina made a presentation to City Council on July 26, recommending that an application to develop a four-storey apartment complex at Elphinstone St. and 13th Ave. be denied. At the end of a marathon session of public presentations, the majority of city councillors agreed.
“Projects like these should not be rubber stamped because it brings development and money into the city,” Robert Hubick told councillors, speaking on behalf of Heritage Regina.
Heritage Regina’s presentation expressed concern that the building’s proposed height and massing were out of scale to the neighbourhood’s historic streetscape.
“The Cathedral Neighbourhood has a distinctive character and an identity and a sense of place; buildings which are designed and located in the public realm contribute to a better neighbourhood experience,” said Hubick. “Development should be controlled and show sensitivity to the neighbourhood and to the people who live and work in it.”
An earlier compromise proposal from the Cathedral Area Community Association to reduce the building’s size and surface parking needs had been rejected by the developer.
Heritage Regina also questioned the developer’s statement that an adjacent house to be torn down for the project was irreparable, noting that most Cathedral Area homes require regular upkeep of their foundations.
“In the majority of cases, the homeowners replace, brace or fix them. Is it the city’s position that all houses with basement problems in the Cathedral area be bulldozed?” Hubick asked.
In total, 19 presentations were heard from individual residents, the developer’s consultants, the Ecole Connaught Community School Council, the Protect Cathedral Group, and the Cathedral Area Community Association, with the majority speaking against the project as proposed.
CACA president Theresa Walter voiced neighbours’ concerns about loss of backyard privacy and sunshine, increased traffic, and having a “large, square box” at an entryway to the neighbourhood. She urged Council not to set a precedent that would open the door to large-scale commercial development in zoned residential areas.
Further, she said CACA could not support “the tearing down of good family sized housing stock for a parking lot.”
After hearing all the delegations, Councillors voted to accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation and deny the development. The meeting wrapped up just after midnight, at 12:12 a.m.