Sport Manitoba bought itself some time this morning.
Facing an order from city hall to landscape a site next to its new offices on Pacific Avenue, Sport Manitoba officials won a reprieve.
The downtown development committee gave the group until September 2014 to either have plans ready for construction of its phase 2, $18-million training centre; or, show up with landscaping plans.
The planning department is upset that Sport Manitoba had left vacant a parcel of land on Pacific, which is being used – without the group’s permission – as a parking lot by visitors.
Jeff Palamar, Sport Manitoba chairman, said a warehouse used to sit on the site but planning officials insisted the vacant structure be demolished before they would release an occupancy permit for the new offices.
Palamar said the group plans to build a state of the art training facility on the empty land and has been busy raising government and private funds.
The only funding piece missing now is federal dollars, Palamar said, adding however they expect a formal announcement by June and start construction at the end of September.
Palamar said it makes no sense to spend scarce money to landscape the property when it’s going to become a construction site.
"Our request for you today is patience, co-operation, and understanding to make this project work" Palamar said.
Sport Manitoba has posted No Parking signs, but people continue to park on the site.
Palamar said he believes the parkers are volunteers from the various sporting groups who meet at the new offices.
The committee allowed Sport Manitoba to leave the land vacant until the fall, when they must produce confirmation of funding and construction plans, or plans to landscape the site.
The committee also ordered the group to post more No Parking signs and to not plow the property during the winter.