A funeral parlour will be able to set up shop inside a strip mall where a Chinese restaurant is an existing tenant, Winnipeg city council's appeals committee ruled Thursday.
On July 4, the city's Board of Adjustment denied a conditional-use request that would have allowed the Vincent Knysh Funeral Chapel to operate in a strip mall at the corner of Logan Avenue and McPhillips Street. The main tenant in the strip mall is Canton Buffet, a restaurant.
At a hearing Thursday at city hall, council's appeals committee voted 3-1 to overturn the previous decision. Couns. Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo), Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) and Ross Eadie (Mynarski) voted in favour of the appeal, while Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) voted in opposition. Seventy people registered to speak over the course of the 205-minute hearing: 26 in favour and 44 in opposition.
At the start of the hearing, appellant spokeswoman Robyn Reynolds took the unusual step of asking any councillors who have conflicts of interest or "perceived conflicts of interest" to recuse themselves.
She appeared to have been referring to Smith, whose one-time assistant, Joe Chan, opposed the appeal. Smith said after the hearing Chan does very little work for him.
Reynolds also claimed proponents of the funeral home were victims of harassment by opponents. She also said food is a big part of modern funeral celebrations and vowed her clientele would patronize the neighbouring restaurant.
"Let's get along," she said.
The Vincent Knysh Funeral Chapel plans to open in February, as long as it obtains the necessary permits. Funeral parlours coexist with restaurants elsewhere in Winnipeg.