After more than 14 months of beaurocratic wrangling, a Regina family will finally be able to do what they want with their house.
The Dodds family bought the house at 13 Leopold Cres. with the idea in mind of tearing it down and building a new one. Dennis Dodds said he knew it was on the Heritage Holding Bylaw list, but said he was told it would just require a 60-day consideration period for city council to consider issuing a demolition permit. That didn’t go as planned.
In March, city council voted to keep the house on the Heritage Holding Bylaw list. Council also voted to do a review of the property. On Monday, after more than an hour and a half of debate, city council voted to accept a recommendation from city administration that the house to taken off of the list.
Dodds argued the house is not structurally fit to be lived in, and is dangerous as mold and aesbestos have been found. He said it would cost too much to fix everything in the house – anywhere from $450,000 to $470,000. Dodds put the estimated cost of the house they hope to build at about $700,000.
Before the vote, several delegates rose to speak about the issue. Some were for keeping the house standing, one suggesting a new owner needs to be found who would appreciate the house as is. Some were on the side of the Dodds family, and wanted them to be able to tear it down. One man said, “I believe that the mature coniferous trees are more deserving of protection, because at least they hide the facade of that building”.
Dodds spoke at the meeting as well. He said that there isn’t much clarity on why the house should be a heritage building. Speaking about Heritage Regina’s reasoning, he said, “it’s on the list because it has heritage value, and it has heritage value because it’s on the list”.
Dodds said he accepts that some people are passionate about heritage, “but it is easy to be passionate with someone else’s money”.
He said he intends to build an environmentally-friendly home at 13 Leopold Cres., made from salvagable materials that matches the character of the area. He said he would use the doors, wood trim, and perhaps light fixtures from the current house in the new house. Dodds said he didn’t know what he’d do if the house was kept on the list.
Councillors had been invited to tour the house.
“I did not feel that it was a good place for people to spend much time without proper personal protective equipment,” said Wade Murray.
“I can see that house is in deplorable shape,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. “You look through the basement and the foundation, and I just can’t imagine how much longer that house is going to stand upright.”
Fougere said while the state of the house wasn’t the issue at hand, its heritage value was.
“I just can’t see the value of this being a heritage property.”
The vote was nine to two, with councillors Shawn Fraser and John Findura voting against the motion.
During the debate there was also a lot of talk about how and why houses are put on the Heritage Holding Bylaw list. An amendment was passed to have the administration make recommendations on changes to how buildings are put on and removed from the list, and for how the laws around heritage properties can better fit together.