Penticton, B.C.’s most unique and historic neighbourhoods could be protected if changes to the city’s zoning bylaw proposed to council are adopted.
The changes would provide important guidance for future decisions about developments.
“Council gave direction to staff to investigate how we could put in some heritage protections for three neighbourhoods in Penticton. Lakeshore Drive, the Windsor Avenue area, and Front Street which is in our downtown,” said the City of Penticton director of Development Services Blake Laven.
For the downtown area, the city is looking at the creation of a heritage conservation area which would include Front Street as well as the 100, 200, and 300 blocks of Main Street.
The city says they will take a different approach to Lakeshore Drive and the Windsor Avenue area because they are more residential.
“We are looking at some small amendments to our zoning bylaw to be reflective of the original built form of those neighbourhoods. So, larger front yard, setbacks allowing for more mature landscaping, and we are looking at limiting building heights in those areas,” said Laven.
There are currently no heritage guidelines in place for Lakeshore Drive which resulted in numerous controversial developments.
Including the demolition of the Walker Heritage Home to make way for a four-unit and the recently approved four-storey, eight-unit project at 602 lakeshore drive.
“Lakeshore Drive is probably one of the premier spots in Penticton, beautiful views — and what you’ve got is a building that is parked almost on the public sidewalk. With no redeeming values, in my opinion, of what it could be,” said retired historian Randy Manuel.
Although not all the homes on Lakeshore drive are on the heritage registry, the history of the neighbourhood runs deep.
“It was the high-end structure of the city, in other words, if you had money you could build a home on Lakeshore Drive. Especially if you think back 100 years ago, you didn’t have cars whipping by,” said Manuel.
“It was the elite, the doctors, the lawyers, the jewelers, people who had probably some economic sway in the development of the city from the railroad to the industry. The who’s who lived on Lakeshore Drive.”
The city said they also plan to work with the Heritage and Museum Advisory Committee to identify houses within these neighbourhoods that could be added to the city’s heritage registry.
However, committee member Anne Hargrave noted that the registry doesn’t provide any protection.
“We do have this register with 55 houses on it including the Warren House and one thing that is often confusing is whether or not that provides any protection, and it doesn’t,” said Hargrave.
“Once something is on the city’s register it is then co-listed on the provincial register and the national register. Neither of those give it any additional protection.”
Hargrave said that the registry provides recognition and can be a step towards getting the home protected.