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December 11, 2020

Advocacy Group Sends Open Letter to City of Winnipeg to Rehabilitate Rubin Block

On December 10th, 2020, Heritage Winnipeg and a group of concerned community members penned an open letter to the City of Winnipeg asking for steps to be taken towards the rehabilitation of the Rubin Block at 270 Morley. The building has been vacant since 2014, though it has been a part of the neighbourhood streetscape since 1914. Heritage Winnipeg has been campaigning for the rehabilitation of the Rubin Block since 2014, and in December of 2020 launched a petition to transform the Rubin Block into affordable housing units as a part of the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). View the petition here.

Read the letter in full:

December 10, 2020 

CALL FOR ACTION TO THE CITY OF WINNIPEG 

Re: Historic Rubin Block at 270 Morley Avenue 

Taking critical steps for Affordable Housing: 

The Rubin Block advocates have been working very hard with many community organizations including Heritage Winnipeg for over 5 years. We are writing to request that the City of Winnipeg  enable restoration of the historic Rubin Block for affordable housing by invoking Taking Title  Without Compensation or other acquisition measures including expropriation. 

On Monday, December 7, 2020 a petition calling for the Rubin Block to be refurbished for affordable  housing was launched, and may be found at: 

https://www.change.org/p/mayor-bowman-refurbish-the-historic-rubin-block-for-affordable housing 

In just a few days we have received over 450 signatures from businesses, organizations, and  residents expressing continued concern about the negative impact on our community of a valued  historic building purposely left vacant. There is strong support for the re-use of this historic building for much-needed affordable housing in Winnipeg! 

Vacant since 2014, restoration of the historic Rubin Block for continued affordable housing  addresses major concerns in our community and Winnipeg, namely i) safety and security issues  associated with continuing to leave the building vacant that also renders it at risk for “demolition by  neglect”, ii) an affordable-housing deficit, and iii) under-employment in Winnipeg. 

Its restoration similarly provides opportunities, namely to i) revitalize & conserve a valuable  historic building integral to the South Osborne community and the City of Winnipeg ii) provide much needed affordable housing and iii) local employment opportunities in restoration, building,  conservation, and trades, at a time when affordable housing and employment are so desperately  needed.  

The Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), and the second stream in particular will provide an excellent  opportunity to refurbish vacant and historic buildings such as the Rubin Block for affordable  housing.  

With the need for affordable housing and employment at their greatest, now is an opportune time to  ensure that historic buildings such as the Rubin Block are refurbished, and the safety and vitality of  the communities they inhabit restored. 

Thank you in advance for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you about this very  important community issue, and would request a Zoom meeting to discuss the next steps. 

Best regards, 

Rubin Block Advocates 
Heritage Winnipeg

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