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Alternative access routes required on contentious Walmart proposal

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Proponents of a big box mall across Winnipeg’s northeastern boundaries in East St. Paul have been told to find alternative access routes that do not involve city streets.

Jennifer Ferguson, manager of the Selkirk District planning board, said the development plan amendment that would allow the project was originally to be decided at the board’s January meeting.

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But, contrary to media reports, Ferguson said board members recently postponed the matter until alternative access routes to the proposed site could be considered.

"The board has not made a decision on it yet," Ferguson said this afternoon.

Ferguson said there is no deadline for the board to make a decision on the project, adding no decision will be considered until the board is presented with alternative access routes.

That was good news for North Kildonan councillor Jeff Browaty, who made good on a promise to block city streets eyed by the developer.

"I’m happy to see they are apparently not going to proceed with the project as presented," Browaty said. "I’m very skeptical that the developer will be able to come up with appropriate alternative accesses to the site."

City to close streets if project approved

North Kildonan residents, and some from East St. Paul who live inside the Perimeter Highway, are concerned about plans by Walmart and developer SmartCentres to use their residential streets as access routes to a large shopping centre on a 47-acre parcel of land tucked into the southwest corner of the Perimeter Highway and Lagimodiere Boulevard.

While the land is in East St. Paul, there is no access to the site from the rural community.

The province rejected requests from the developers and East St. Paul to construct access routes off the Perimeter Highway.

The East St. Paul council offered to share some of the property tax revenue from the development with Winnipeg in exchange for using Winnipeg streets to access the site but that deal was never accepted and city staff are preparing to block access to the site if the plan is approved.

The Selkirk district planning board, which regulates planning development in the rural community, held a public hearing Nov. 20 to consider changing the property’s designation from mixed use residential/institutional to commercial.

The East Kildonan-Transcona community committee Tuesday night confirmed the city’s plan to block two streets in North Kildonan – Raleigh Road and Gateway Street – that the developers propose using as the main access to the site.

Winnipeg’s administration says there are no departmental concerns to blocking the two roadways.

Browaty said Raleigh will be legally "closed on paper" as soon as possible and physically closed if the project is approved.

Gateway doesn’t reach the Winnipeg/East St. Paul boundary but it, too, will be legally closed to prevent any future attempt to open a route to the development site.



Updated on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:24 PM CST: Adds info on requirement for alternative access routes.

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