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Boutique hotel on Waterfront passes first step

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WINNIPEG - A plan to build a boutique hotel along Waterfront Drive has cleared its first set of hurdles at city hall.

City council's downtown, heritage and riverbank committee voted unanimously this morning to approve zoning changes that will allow Sunstone Boutique Hotels to build a 67-room hotel at the Alexander Docks site and convert the former Harbourmaster Building to a restaurant.

The city has been trying to redevelop the site for decades.

The north end of the site will have accessory parking, while the pathway system in Juba Park will be extended through the site between the hotel and the restaurant. The path is intended to serve as a link in the North Winnipeg Parkway.

Several residents, heritage experts and urban planners appeared at this morning's public hearing to oppose the plan on the basis it will create noise that will affect nearby residents, eliminate green space and harm heritage-preservation efforts.

Following a 2.5-hour hearing, Couns. Justin Swandel (St. Norbert), Gord Steeves (St. Vital), Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) and Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) voted in favour of the plan.

Gerbasi also moved a separate motion to ask the city to work with heritage advocates to commemorate the role of the green space in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.

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