North Kildonan councillor Jeff Browaty left a civic committee this morning with assurances that two streets in his ward will be closed to prevent their use as access to a proposed shopping mall in neighbouring East St. Paul.
The property and development committee accepted Browaty’s recommendation to hold public hearings to close Gateway Road and Raleigh Streets – two residential streets in North Kildonan that a Toronto-area developer wants to use as access to a new Walmart shopping mall on the city’s doorstep in East St. Paul.
The proposed development has drawn strong opposition from North Kildonan residents and from East St. Paul residents who live inside the Perimeter and adjacent to the proposed mall; both groups fear the development would lead to increased traffic on nearby residential streets.
A public hearing on the Walmart project was held last month in Selkirk, but no decision has been made on whether to proceed with it.
Browaty said he would support the shopping mall if the developers were allowed to build an access road off the Perimeter Highway, but added the province so far refuses to do that.
The call for public hearings still must be approved by city council.
Raleigh will remain open, Browaty said, as long the mall project does not go ahead. However, he added city officials can block both streets for up to a year without a public hearing if the mall project is fast-tracked before the public hearing process is completed.
Browaty said plans will likely call for the streets to be blocked by mid-June 2015.