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Thursday, 22 January 2009

Okay, what the hell ...

Okay, what the hell.

We have a city with a downtown that is almost half empty lots - many empty for decades.


We have an Exchange District that is a National Historic Site that, after decades of neglect, is finally coming into it's own as a desired commercial and residential area.


Why, then, do we insist on the need to tear down existing buildings when we have the need to build ?


Now, the most asinine plan to date: to take out most of a block of McDermot in the heart of the Exchange for a Hydro Substation. I kid you not:
'Hydro eyeing historic buildings for new substation'. I closed the window and re-entered the CBC site to read the story again thinking that I got the wrong end of the stick.

I'm not even sure what to say about this it's so ridiculous.

Go a block to the west of these buildings, toward Adelaide, and there are numerous empty lots waiting to be filled to round out that end of the Exchange. Further west there are more empty or underutilized lots. Yet, the need for a substation requires that three heritage buildings be gobbled up ?


Also see

Update Feb 5 2009:

Hydro backs away from Exchange plan The province’s hydroelectric Crown corporation won’t be gutting any buildings in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District, a spokesman said today.

6 comments:

cancelbot said...

It's obviously the golden commandment of Winnipeg development once again:

Thou shalt not build anything without destroying something else first.

It has virtually 100 per cent compliance - take that, Moses!

Seriously though, this has to be one of the dumbest plans I've ever heard of for any downtown. Why Hydro wants to cut the Exchange's growth potential off at the knees like that I just can't understand.

Grant said...

It's not like they even have to think that far outside of the box: busy the thing underneath one of the existing parking lots -- you don't even lose surface parking!

Check this post in the New York Times

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/why-not-bury-ugly-substations/

mrchristian said...

Thansk very much for the link, Grant ! The report within the story from the Manhattan Institute is great as well - sort of a "substation 101" !

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/crd_neighborly_substation.htm

Mr. Nobody said...

Why are the buildings ( 2 of em ) still classified as 3's ?

No one was going to tear them down. You do know they will still be at risk for gutting.

these last few battles over buildings , I hope, has raised the alarm. If this is a national historic site, then all buildings should be considered Class 1.

I mean, at some point, councilors have to take a step whereby, they don't have to approve every single permit issued for these types of buildings.

It was a dumb move, and perhaps before blogs, it would have passed. But , there is nothing in Hydro's proposal that technically circumvented the bylaw. And that is alarming.

Stop Destroying Winnipeg said...

Manitoba Hydro Contact: Bob Brennan, President & CEO, 474-3600

Grant said...

Lol -- did you watch the audio slideshow?

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/crd_slideshow0109.html

It's like Substations For Dummies.