Glenora continues to play by its own rules as the city weighs the conservation of a picturesque neighbourhood against a growing need for infill.
Council shot down a motion from Andrew Knack in March that would have encouraged protection of the neighbourhood’s historic character as a tradeoff for allowing more density through customized Direct Control (DC1) zoning.
In a push and pull that has frustrated local councillors for decades, the motion was opposed by infill advocates who argued it falls way short of Edmonton’s density goals.
“If (Glenora residents’) primary objective is preservation, they have to be willing to give up on some of those other things that also they might have cared about,” says Knack, whose constituency includes Glenora.
While some residents of the affluent community still oppose subdivisions, secondary suites and basement suites, Knack says some are excited to add density – even small apartments – so long it doesn’t disturb the aesthetic.
“If somebody bought one of the giant homes that exist there – a 5,000 or 6,000-square-foot home – and converted that into a 12-unit apartment building, but still has all of the same look on the outside … If the goal is heritage preservation, who cares how many people live in the building?” Knack says.
Not even a bylaw can force change in Glenora, however. That’s because a unique pre-First World War caveat effectively overrides city zoning and allows residents to sue each other for adding onto their properties. The Carruthers Caveat was implemented in 1911 by developer James Carruthers to enforce minimum house prices and other restrictions, ensuring only the wealthy could live in the community. In 2014, courts actually forced a Glenora couple to back down from plans to build a secondary suite.