St. John's city council has approved a pedestrian overpass on Duckworth Street, despite concerns that it might distort the heritage flair of the downtown.

The Courtyard by Marriott hotel is planning to connect its building on the south side of Duckworth with an extension planned for the north side with an elevated walkway connecting the two.


Coun. Bruce Tilley and most other councillors supported the skywalk proposal. ((CBC) )

The city's heritage advisory committee wanted to develop a policy for such structures in the designated heritage area downtown.

But council voted 8-3 to proceed with the skywalk with most arguing that the development will not hurt the characteristic look of the city.

"You cannot have people checking into a hotel, lugging their suitcases across the street in the snow, in the rain, in the bad weather. It would be totally impractical," said Coun. Bruce Tilley.

Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary, though, said the city needs to have guidelines of what new structures should look like as new developments arise.

"But if we don't have policy we could look like Space 2070 with all these things zooming overhead without any guidelines to guide us," she said.

Marriott plans to develop land that is largely used now as a parking lot. Much of it has been vacant since a fire destroyed much of a city block in 1989, killing the visual artist Colin Macnee.