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City committee approves funds for transitway, bike strategy

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City hall is making moves to begin the completion of the southwest rapid transit corridor.

The infrastructure renewal and public works committee this morning approved a $1.9-million contract to Dillon Consulting to carry out phases one and two of the second stage of the transit corridor.

The contract will see Dillon Consulting prepare a design and develop a business case for the corridor.

The funds had been approved in the 2012 capital budget.

The province is also contributing $2.1 million for the design work.

Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), who chairs the committee, said the province has yet to commit to fund any additional work, adding that is necessary if the project is to be completed.

"It’s make or break time within the next six months," Vandal said of securing provincial funding.


$330,000 contract awarded for bike/walking study

A civic committee has revived plans to develop a pedestrian and bike strategy for the city.

The infrastructure renewal and public works committee approved a $330,000 contract for the study, reversing a council decision that killed a $400,000 contract for the same work.

City staff told councillors that the project was revived after the contract was trimmed, with some of the public consultation and monitoring now being done by city staff.


Commercial ban considered for trucks on Provencher

A civic committee has authorized a study to consider banning heavy trucks and semis from Provencher Boulevard.

Coun. Vandal said that allowing heavy trucks to travel on Provencher and into the heart of downtown is inconsistent with the pedestrian nature of Provencher and the surrounding area, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Provencher Boulevard is currently designated as a full-time truck route. The study will consider prohibiting commercial trucks, with the exception for local deliveries.

"We have to progress as a city," Vandal told reporters following the committee meeting. "Does anyone other than the trucking association like semi trailers at Portage and Main.

"It’s a no-brainer. We have semi-trailers that go down Provencher over the bridge… and then meander onto Portage Avenue. It’s time to get rid of the tractor trailers from Portage and Main and Provencher Boulevard."


No free parking for police

City council will not be considering Paula Havixbeck’s proposal to provide secure and free parking to police officers at the new Graham Avenue police headquarters.

Havixbeck’s motion was unable to get support from members of the infrastructure renewal and public works committee this morning, where councillors said finding money to save vital police services is a higher priority than parking for the rank and file.

Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) moved a motion in July that funds be provided in the 2014 budget for police officers stationed at the new Graham HQ should be given the same treatment as firefighters and paramedics, who are provided with free parking where they are stationed.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) referred to a recent exclusive Free Press story that stated an independent report is suggesting major cuts to several units of the Winnipeg Police Service, adding finding funds to save vital WPS services is more important that parking for officers.

Committee members suggested if the WPS executive wants to provide free parking for officers, then it should make such a proposal in its 2014 budget submission.


Tolls for roads shot down

A city councillor’s suggestion to study the feasibility of establishing tolls on roads and bridges to cover infrastructure costs hit a dead-end this morning.

Coun. Ross Eadie’s request to the infrastructure renewal and public works committee met stiff resistance among the councillors, who dismissed it as poorly worded, ill-timed and unnecessary.

"This is not the time or place," to consider tolls," committee chair Vandal said.

Eadie (Mynarski) had suggested the civic administration be tasked with determining the viability of imposing tolls on the city’s roadways and bridges as a way to find money for necessary infrastructure work.

Coun. Gerbasi said Eadie’s idea had merit, adding that other Canadian cities have done the same.

Coun. Brian Mayes dismissed the suggestion as impractical, adding other cities have imposed tolls to recover the costs of construction but it would not be feasible to place tolls on existing roadways and bridges.

Vandal said the city needs a measured, intelligent approach to infrastructure financing, adding he supports the creation of a Transportation Authority that would examine all financing models.


Park sale to developer approved

A committee is recommending the sale of a small neighbourhood park next to the Glendale golf course to a developer who will build a condominium project.

The property and development committee this morning approved selling a 1.4-acre park between Stewart and St. Charles streets to A & S Construction.

Because the property is parkland, the sale will need two-thirds approval of council.

The rectangular piece of green space is located south of Portage Avenue, next to the northwest corner of the Glendale Country Club.

The parcel was declared surplus in February and put up for sale, with an asking price of $599,000.

City staff said A & S Construction submitted the highest bid, at $609,000, and plans to construct 25 condominium units in two-storey structure.

The sale does not include a small rectangular portion at the south end of the green space, where playground equipment is situated and would remain park space.

Proceeds from the sale will be set aside for the city’s land dedication reserve fund, which finances alternate park needs in the community.

Staff told the committee that entrance to the proposed condominium development will be off Allard Avenue, through a long narrow entranceway beside existing homes.


Updated on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 3:41 PM CDT: Adds sale of park to developer.

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