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City council briefs

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Members of council worked late into the afternoon Wednesday, plowing through a heavy council agenda that had to be cleared before council goes on summer break.

While audits dominated the headlines, councillors also debated several other matters.

Council’s next meeting is in September.

Sing your heart out

You can keep singing on the bus.

City council approved a new transit bylaw Wednesday that aimed to increase protection for riders and drivers.

Before it was passed, the new bylaw was amended to eliminate singing and playing musical instruments on transit property as fineable offences.

Included in the bylaw are provisions to allocate two Winnipeg police cadets to ride select routes that have been determined to be the most problematic.

Several transit operators addressed council before the vote, saying they are routinely assaulted by passengers.

 Local not-for-profits get grants

Siloam Mission and Neechi Commons are getting tax grants from city hall.

Council approved providing grants for both groups because of additional property taxes the groups would be paying due to development taking place at their sites.

Siloam Mission is proposing a multi-million-dollar expansion of its Pacific Street facilities to provide housing, food and employment for the city’s homeless. The group will be receiving $4 million, through annual payments spread over 50 years.

Neechi Commons, which converted a closed grocery store on north Main Street into a restaurant, catering service and grocery employing local residents, will be receiving $150,000.

PST hike referendum proposal defeated

 Council defeated a proposal that would have asked citizens, via a referendum question, whether revenue that the province collected in Winnipeg from the one per cent PST hike should be completely devoted to infrastructure improvements.

Coun. Russ Wyatt, who proposed the idea, said the referendum question was needed to pressure the province into giving the city more money for street maintenance.

However, other councillors derided the idea as a stunt and a bully tactic.

The issue was defeated in a 4-12 vote. It was supported by Couns. Jeff Browaty, Scott Fielding, Paula Havixbeck, and Wyatt.

 Forks development plans approved

Redevelopment plans for the last remaining vacant parcels of land at The Forks were approved by council.

The project involves 4.9 hectares on two parcels of land: the Rail Side site, a Forks-owned concrete parking lot immediately north of Citytv’s studio; and Parcel 4, a city-owned gravel parking lot briefly considered in 2012 as the site for a hotel and water-park development.

The Forks proposes to redevelop the sites for a mixed-use development, including residential high-rise buildings, two parkades, a tiered park and urban plaza.

The proposal, which resulted from a public consultation process, reserves 60 per cent of the 4.9 hectares for public space — paid for by private development on the other 40 per cent of the land.

The Forks expects the private sector to invest $200 million on five sites over the next six to seven years for residential and commercial development.

The Forks will be responsible for building a terraced park and parkade on the Rail Side parcel and the urban plaza and a second parkade on Parcel 4.

Council agreed to declare the Parcel 4 land surplus, as a sign of commitment to development, and to transfer ownership to The Forks for development.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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