Boosterism, busywork blinded us on pumping station

PUMPING_16834948Somehow, I got too busy to follow up on it.
An e-mail from James Avenue Pumping Station architect Sotirios Kotoulas came to the Sun Dec. 20, 2013, and I was excited that I’d finally get the chance to ask him the questions he hadn’t been available to answer back in August.
Five days earlier, the Sun had published an article citing the concerns of an Exchange District resident who wondered why public consultation hadn’t really included the public, and why the developer’s name was still secret.
“I have nothing against the architect or the design of a skyscraper, but really this building has to follow certain guidelines,” said blogger James Hoddinott, who started a petition to limit the height of whatever will be built at that site.
And — I should add — I caught a lot of flack from some urbanist friends for being a naysayer for assigning and promoting the article.
In the e-mail, written as a letter to the editor, Kotoulas asked the Sun to step up and do some digging.
“I find it amateur that no one in the Sun newspaper bothered to do a background check on Mr. Hoddinott’s comments about there being no public consultation,” Kotoulas wrote.
He touted the Aug. 6 open house — that even though I’d heard rumours of in advance, I couldn’t score details of — as a “highly energized forum” that “over 200 residents” attended.
“Uninformed protestors coupled with lazy journalists should be questioned by an editor if they want to seriously engage in a dialogue about the future of our city,” Kotoulas concluded.
Well, shame on all of us — him included.
On Jan. 9, it was revealed that Kotoulas is not a licensed architect.
That means the plans city council was pushing through are likely to now be thrown out.
They can’t go ahead, now, can they?
I’d like to think that if journalists had gotten their hands on the plans back in August, someone might have been able to put two and two together.
But the city had been in consultations that whole time.
The plans passed through different committees and bureaucrats and politicians.
And it wasn’t until this week that someone thought to check it out?
This, this is why boosterism is bad for our city. It’s not the first time something like this has happened, and it won’t be the last.
But hopefully we can start being critical of ideas as the starting point of a debate instead of being too busy to follow up.


2 responses

  1. Being a licensed architect isn’t a requirement for tabling a design or suggestion. Perhaps one can take issue with him lying about his employment. Tabling a pretty picture can be accomplished by anyone with skills in AutoCad, or Solidworks .

    When it comes time to get a building permit – then yes, you will need a licensed architect to table actual as builts.

    On a separate point , the real thing to do with the pumping station is to remove the “iron” and allow the site to be developed to fit the area. Sometimes tough choices are required when you agree to a “vision” ( see Starsbourg, Old Montreal, Old Quebec City, for examples of you just can’t go in there and clstfk the area ) . Enough of this chasing skyscrapers as if they will really define the City. Get over it , We are in the middle of the continent at the center of nowhere. And that suits me just fine.

  2. Just found this little bit . It should ease everyone’s guilt.

    ” To submit a drawing for a “height variance”, you do not need to be an architect.” City of Winnipeg spokesperson.

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