The Trites-Leroux mansion in Fernie has been undergoing works for the last few years to bring it up to code. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Trites-Leroux project has density lowered

The agreement for the revitalization of the property now allows for four units in the building, instead of six

  • May. 27, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The owners of the Trites-Leroux Mansion in Fernie have asked for, and been given permission to reduce the density of the development and revitalization of the historic building.

After requesting a Heritage Alteration Permit (HAP), the number of units built in the existing building on the lot will be reduced from six units to four, which according to city staff allows for a smaller renovation project as the roof-line of the building no longer needs to be raised.

The overall shape of the building would also stay closer to the original under the new agreement.

Under the previous plan, six units would have been built in the historic building, while another six would be built in additional buildings on the same lot, for a 12-unit development. Now there will only be 10 units built, should it go ahead.

City staff recommended approving the HAP as it would lead to a reduction in density and overall reduction in neighbourhood impact.

“It should lower the impact on services (and) there is the potential that off-street parking (needs) and traffic is reduced,” said the city’s manager of planning, Derek Cimolini.

“At the very least, if they keep the same amount of parking spaces, there will be more parking per unit as well,” he said.

The owners of the Trites-Leroux mansion were granted a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) in September last year, which would have seen the historic (but not heritage protected) building renovated and returned to good condition. According to the owners at the time, the revitalization of the building was only possible financially if the city also allowed the addition of two extra buildings on the lot which would house six townhouses.

Neighbours had expressed opposition to an increase in density, citing parking and traffic issues, as well as overall impact on the building itself should extra buildings be added. City staff argued that by allowing extra units, the future of the building could be more readily secured, as without renovation it was falling deeper into disrepair.

While the owners were given the HRA (following a delay due to council members requesting more information), works did not proceed before winter arrived, with the owners saying that the cost of works was too high. The property was placed on the market instead for $1.5 million.

At the time, remediation works and asbestos removal had been completed and it was ready for the roof-line renovations to be carried out.

The mansion has since been removed from the market.

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