What is Our Heritage?

Believe it or not, us folks at the Lakeview Community Association occasionally deal with issues other than planning awesome programs for you and your family to enjoy. Occasionally, people come to see us with community-based issues that they would like resolved, but need assistance resolving. At our last meeting, we were met by a group of concerned citizens who are concerned about the direction the neighbourhood is going.

If you have not noticed, there is a lot of new development that has been happening in Lakeview lately. Taking a drive down Regina, McCallum or Hill Avenues you will notice a handful of new, large homes in places where older, small dwellings once stood. While these new houses look lovely, they raise some issues that are concerning to the citizens whom we met with.

While the older homes in the neighbourhood are set back from the street and have large front and side yards, the new houses seem to take up the majority of the property. This causes the newer homes to stick out from the older ones quite noticeably, making the small houses next door look like the new homes’ garden shed. Another concern raised was the issue of trees. In order to build these large homes, trees need to be cut down. This, it was pointed out, could damage our lovely, tree-lined streets. The most important issue that was raised however, was the style of homes being built.

The houses being built right now also vary greatly in terms of their style. While some are traditional, others are very modern-looking. Both styles have the “newly-built” look that makes it obvious that the house is not original to the neighbourhood. This, the group said, undermines the heritage of our neighbourhood. So, Do we even have “heritage”?  If we do, how do we keep our heritage?

I have no easy answers to that question. One suggestion that was put forward would be to have Lakeview desginated as a heritage neighbourhood. Doing this would be a huge undertaking, and would involve strict building codes when it comes to new home construction and the tearing down of older homes. This is something that I would personally be opposed to. People are choosing to build homes in Lakeview for a reason. The big lots, the convienient location, the arcitechtural freedom and of course the great people are all incentives to build new in Lakeview and I would hate to discourage people from doing so by implementing strict building codes.

It should also be noted that it is not the historical character homes that are being torn down. Rather, it is smaller homes that have been neglected or are in need of major repair  making saving the home simply not worth it. If there were rules and regulations that would prevent these homes from being torn down, they would likely fall into states of disrepair and dampen the image of the neighbourhood. The older homes in Lakeview that do have a unique archetechtural style or are of some important significance are certainly worth being saved and the homes that are designated as heritage properties are already protected by heritage laws.

The heritage of Lakeview is that of uniqueness. When the neighbourhood was first established in the early 20th century, there were no guidelines as to the style of home one good construct. There is a wide variety of archetectural styles amoung the older homes that do not share uniform guidelines, yet somehow fit together with one another. New development does not undermine our heritage, rather, it adds to the uniqueness of the neighbourhood. The wide variety of home styles as well as the mix of new and old construction is part of what makes Lakeview a great place to live.

what do you think of new construction in Lakeview? Leave a comment below!