Proposed downtown condo leaves Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee with mixed feelings

The proposed condo design is situated between Knox United Church and St. John's Anglican Church. Credit: City of Saskatoon

Meridian Development’s proposed downtown condo is not in the clear yet.

The proposed building that would wrap around Knox United Church left the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee (MHAC) with mixed feelings at a meeting Tuesday.

The committee reviewed an approval report recommending a bylaw designating Knox United Church as a municipal heritage property be amended.

This could potentially allow Meridian Development to continue with the project, which would include a parkade, bistro and office space.

Read more: Former McNab Park residents, Saskatoon Heritage Society want area’s history recognized

According to the report, the bylaw currently in place doesn’t allow for exterior changes. However, Meridian Development’s design wouldn’t change the exterior.

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“Anything in relation to the exterior of that church would require approval, would need to go through this committee, and would need to go through the proper approval steps to make any changes or alterations,” City of Saskatoon heritage and design coordinator Catherine Kambeitz said during the meeting.

Peggy Sarjeant, Saskatoon Heritage Society president, and some MHAC members expressed concerns at Tuesday’s meeting.

“The developer has provided a heritage impact statement outlining how the proposed development interacts with Knox United Church and adjacent heritage properties but this has not been released to the public. We have no way of determining if the standards and guidelines have been consulted and followed as required under the Civic Heritage Policy,” Sarjeant said.

This isn’t the first city meeting leaving people conflicted on the project.

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon developer seeks appeal to build condo between historic churches' Saskatoon developer seeks appeal to build condo between historic churches
Saskatoon developer seeks appeal to build condo between historic churches – Nov 4, 2020

Earlier this month, the development company appealed the City of Saskatoon‘s rejection of the proposed 19-storey building.

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Bertrand Bartake of Kindrachuk Agrey Architecture said the unique ‘L’ shape warrants special reconsideration at the meeting with the city’s development appeals board.

“The pointed and gothic elements of the heritage building are highlighted against the light, curvy, flowy architectural language of the proposed development,” Bartake said.

Read more: Committee to consider relocating Saskatoon’s downtown yards to city’s northern edge

Meridian Development Corp. president Karl Miller said his company was approached by Knox United Church nearly seven years ago, seeking solutions to financial issues.

“We worked with them to figure out ways we could generate an ongoing income,” Miller said.

“We entered into an agreement with them that would allow the church to continue on.”

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This agreement brought permission for Meridian to develop on part of the church’s land.

The city’s development appeals board will have a decision on the appeal by December at the latest.

As for Tuesday’s meeting, a decision wasn’t made on a proposed bylaw and a letter will be written to the Planning, Development and Community Services Committee before moving forward. The letter will outline concerns MHAC has with the proposed building.


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