Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Letter to the editor

MVA board should live up to mandate

The StarPhoenix

January 15, 2004

It’s time the Meewasin Valley Authority board publicly called for the preservation of the Gathercole building and site.

The MVA defines a heritage resource as a “building, a parcel of land together with any structures thereon, which is deemed to be representative of the social, cultural, economic, military or political history of Saskatoon.”

The MVA includes university and school buildings within these parameters. It has identified the former Technical Collegiate as a heritage building in its own Heritage Resources Manual!

In his conceptual master plan, Raymond Moriyama said buildings of architectural and/or historical significance should be retained for future generations to understand and appreciate.

Meewasin has publicly stated that its objectives can be achieved with the Gathercole building retained. Protecting the natural and heritage resources is among its stated goals and principles. It is mandated to develop and encourage projects which enhance the natural and heritage resources.

City council’s plans will destroy those resources.

MVA chair Dennis Johnson said in November that the south downtown area should have an overall plan. There isn’t one.

City council, led by “people’s mayor” Don Atchison has decided that Saskatonians will not be consulted until after most of the historic building is demolished and site preparations begun.

“The city has one chance in its lifetime to redevelop south downtown. You do it wrong, it’s irretrievable,” says Johnson.

If carried out, city council’s reckless decisions will not only see a heritage building torn down but put in jeopardy the green space and significant stand of tall mature shade trees on the eastern side of the site. These will likely be removed in future development and replaced somewhere with scrawny ones in ugly metal sidewalk grates.

It’s incumbent upon the MVA to fight for the natural and heritage resources it’s mandated to protect.

Joseph Kuchta

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2004


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