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This article was published 20/1/2016 (429 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Last-minute appeals to Mayor Bowman and members of his executive policy committee (EPC) fell on deaf ears Wednesday, as the group endorsed plans to impose heritage designations on three south Main Street buildings and to move ahead with the proposed expropriation of land needed for the transit corridor and the Parker storm water retention pond.
Toronto developer Harry Christakis pleaded with EPC not to support the move to give a heritage designation to the three properties — the Winnipeg Hotel, 214 Main, the MacDonald Block, 226 Main, and the Fortune Block (home to Times Change(d) bar), 232 Main — explaining that it would jeopardize his group’s plans for a $35-million, 150-room hotel at the location.
Christakis said the buildings are beyond saving and their owners (who have a signed deal to sell the properties to Christakis’ group) oppose the designation.
Only Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) opposed the designation. It goes next to council.
Lawyer Mark Newman also came up empty after he asked EPC to reconsider its plans to expropriate his clients’ properties for the transit corridor and the Parker pond projects.
Newman said the city’s administration had failed to do its required due diligence in discussing alternatives with the property owners, who include controversial local developer Andrew Marquess.
As proof, Newsman cited the recommendations from two public inquiries into the expropriations, which were critical of the city’s handling of both expropriations and strongly recommended alternatives be considered.
But planning director John Kiernan told EPC that all alternatives were considered and the expropriations as proposed are the best option for the city.
Newman cautioned the committee that the expropriations could ultimately prove more costly than the city had anticipated. During the Parker pond inquiry, Marquess estimated the loss of the land would cost him $27 million in profit. City officials had estimated it would cost about $850,000 to expropriate Marquess’ 20.5 acres needed for the pond.