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Plans for The Forks ready by March

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Officials have their work cut out for them when trying to conceptualize the public’s ideas for two vacant pieces of land at The Forks.

A public consultation process conducted by The Forks earlier this year found Winnipeggers want the space to be everything, for everybody.

"There is interest in making sure that some things happen there and people have ideas of what kind of things," Jim August, CEO of The Forks, said earlier today.

August took results from the first phase of the consultation process to civic committee Monday on lands known as Parcel 4 and Rail side.

Parcel 4 is the city-owned land at the southwest corner of Waterfront Drive and William Stephenson Way — immediately west of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The rail side land is part of The Forks proper, located south of York Avenue.

Parcel 4 has been used as a parking lot for Shaw Park. It became the subject of much public interest when city hall agreed to sell it last year to an Alberta developer who was going to build a hotel and water park.

But public outrage — that a water park and modest hotel were inappropriate uses next to the new museum — prompted council to cancel the deal, later asking The Forks to determine what can be done with the land.

The Forks held invited public input at workshops and via online forums, and conducted interviews from various agencies.

August told the committee the public favours a mixed-use development for both parcels of land, including retail and restaurants, a mix of public and private spaces, and multi-unit housing.

"There is this idea of having something like The Forks — only more," August said. "So now our job is to take that information and really look at what kind of options, from a land-use planning perspective, we can come up with."

Surprisingly, August said there were suggestions for a water park but only if it fit into a cohesive theme for the site.

August said various concepts and designs based on the consultations will be presented  by March.

A full copy of the report can be found at www.theforks.com/railside

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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