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Transforming Transcona

Developers itching for city council approval

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The next big step in the transformation of Transcona from a sleepy little neighbourhood into a bustling city suburb is expected to get the final stamp of approval next month at city hall.

Five new housing-development proposals before the city are expected to add more than 3,000 new single-family homes and up to 1,000 multi-family units -- apartments, condominiums, townhouses, etc. -- to the Transcona West area over the next 10 to 15 years, area councillor Russ Wyatt said Tuesday.

That's on top of the nearly 3,000 new homes that have been added in the last decade or so, he added.

"It's creating a lot of positive activity and energy in the community, with all of the new families moving in that have never lived in Transcona before," the councillor said. "There is a new kind of sense of pride and a sense of enthusiasm with regards to the future because all this activity is happening."

'It's creating a lot of positive activity and energy in the community, with all of the new families moving in that have never lived in Transcona before'

-- Coun. Russ Wyatt

The three local developers behind the five new projects -- Genstar Development Corporation, Waterside Development Corporation, and North Grassie Properties -- cleared their first major hurdle last week when their proposals were approved by the East Kildonan-Transcona community committee.

While they still need to be approved by two more city committees and city council, Wyatt said that shouldn't be a problem. He said if all goes well, city councillors could give the projects final approval at the July 17 council meeting.

If they do, some of the developers aren't expected to waste any time getting started.

"We're hoping to be digging within 60 days of it passing council," North Grassie Properties spokesman Norm Boyle said in an interview. "We're ready to rock!"

Boyle said North Grassie's 0.4-hectare Starlight development will include up to 81 multi-family units and 540 highrise apartment or condominium units. The company hopes to begin turning lots over to homebuilders by early next summer.

Genstar is the largest of the three developers, with up to 2,500 single- and multi-family units planned for its Devonshire Village and two-phase Devonshire Park developments.

Its development manager, Dave Boles, said Genstar also hopes to have some lots in the Devonshire Village development ready for homebuilders by late next summer.

"Transcona is sort of where we got our start, so we're very happy to be involved in what's going on out there," he added.

The bulk of the new development will be taking place on several large tracts of vacant land north of the Costco store on Regent Avenue.

Wyatt said the developments will include three retention ponds and sites for a new school and a future rapid-transit station.

The projects will also include a couple of firsts for the city: a dog park to be paid for by the developer and a new four-lane street, also paid for by the developers.

Even more importantly, it will also include major upgrades and extensions of several key streets in the area to handle the increased traffic that will result from all the new development, he added.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 26, 2013 B5

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Updated on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 7:01 AM CDT: replaces photo

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