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Saskatoon city council designates Third Avenue United Church heritage property

After a recommendation from a provincial review board, Saskatoon city council designated the Third Avenue United Church a municipal heritage property. File / Global News

Saskatoon city council granted the Third Avenue United Church municipal heritage property designation Monday, preventing demolition or excessive alteration.

The title applies to the building’s exterior, hammer-beam rafters and the Casavant organ.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Heritage Society hopeful Third Avenue United Church gets designation

Saskatoon Heritage Society president Peggy Sarjeant was “absolutely delighted” following the unanimous vote by city councillors.

“This is obviously a building which has struck a chord, within both administration, city council and the community,” Sarjeant said.

The Saskatchewan Heritage Property Review Board recommended council approve the designation in a report following a public hearing on the issue last month.

At a July hearing, a former owner of the church, John Orr, voiced his opposition to the designation, saying it would hinder potential development.

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Orr showed multiple rendered images of his proposal to turn the church into a glass skyscraper.

He also said discussions about the heritage designation were premature.

“Stand back, consult with us and let’s find a solution instead of trying to ram this through without consulting with us,” Orr said during the hearing.

READ MORE: Sask. board hears opposition to Third Avenue United Church heritage status

Under the Heritage Property Act, the church will be protected regardless of any changes in ownership.

“Once a property is designated, it is protected from demolition or unsympathetic alterations,” Lesley Anderson, the city’s director of planning and development, said in a news release.

Construction of the Third Avenue United Church began in 1911.