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January 10, 2023

Advocacy Achievement! Celebrating Two New Heritage Designations

On January 9th, 2023, the 1967 West Kildonan Public Library at 365 Jefferson Avenue and the 1923 International Order of Odd Fellows Home at 4025 Roblin Boulevard were officially added to the City of Winnipeg’s List of Historical Resources. The Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development unanimously passed motions for both buildings to become designated heritage, protecting their character defining elements from alteration and preventing their demolition. Although the designations are only the first step in ensuring these two buildings contribute to a vibrant city, they are a major victory for the community members and heritage advocates.

In spring of 2022, the future of the West Kildonan Public Library was in question after a proposal from City Hall recommended the library be moved to a leased space inside the Garden City Shopping Centre. This caused an uproar from the community, which charised the modernist library building and did not want the books moved. Fantastic advocacy efforts, led by the Friends of West Kildonan Library Coalition, were incredibly effective and ultimately resulted in the heritage designation. “We are pleased to see that city council has heard our community’s voice loud and clear by designating the library as a historical building,” said Evan Krosney, Coalition Co-Chair. “It confirms what has long been known by our community—this library is historically significant and worth saving. It has been a fixture of our neighbourhood for decades, and we are pleased to see the building will be protected for generations to come.”

In January of 2022, concerns were raised about the International Order of Odd Fellows Home after a rezoning application was approved for a new development on the property. The fear was that the historic building would be irreparably damaged during the construction of a new adjacent building or it would be eventually demolished in a later phase of the development. Fortunately, the home was recommended for a heritage designation, which was enthusiastically supported by the community and heritage advocates. While the fate of the contentious development proposal is uncertain after the Manitoba Municipal Board recommended rejecting the rezoning of the property, the designation of the home will help ensure any future development does not result in the needless loss of the community’s heritage.

🎉 Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to advocate for the designation of these buildings!

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