Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Big-box complex sparks threats

Browaty miffed by lack of road access

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NORTH Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty is threatening to seal off two road connections with East St. Paul unless changes are made to a big-box development planned for just outside Winnipeg's limits.

SmartCentres, a developer based in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan, Ont., plans to develop 15 hectares of vacant land inside the Perimeter Highway into a retail development. The parcel in question sits southwest of the intersection of Lagimodiere Boulevard and the Perimeter Highway.

The development cannot be connected to either major artery due to its proximity to the existing cloverleaf, which the province has slated for reconstruction, Browaty said.

The councillor condemned a plan that would force trucks to access the new development using Headmaster Row, a two-lane Winnipeg residential street. Truck traffic is not compatible with residential driveways, he said.

So he's threatening to cut off the new development if changes are not made to the plan.

"The reality is, all of the access would be on city roads," Browaty said. "We're not going to let them extend Gateway Road and if necessary we will roadblock Raleigh Street. And we have the right to do so."

East St. Paul Mayor Lawrence Morris said he could not comment because the new development has entered the public hearing process. An official with SmartCentres could not be reached for comment.

Browaty said while there is a need for additional services in northeastern Winnipeg, he would prefer to see the new development connect to the Perimeter or Lagimodiere.


No forced time off

"WYATT weekends" won't be coming to Winnipeg this calendar year.

City council finance chairman Russ Wyatt (Transcona) said it won't be possible to implement mandatory days off for non-essential city staffers -- an idea he dubbed Wyatt Weekends -- until 2014 at the earliest.

Such a move could save the city up to $6.5 million a year, according to a preliminary estimate from city staff, Wyatt said. He earlier estimated greater savings from requiring city staffers to take off three months of unpaid Fridays.

Wyatt first floated the idea during the spring, basing it on the provincial "Filmon Fridays" during the 1990s.


Transitway talks resume

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz has toned down his rhetoric regarding Broadway following the resumption of rapid-transit discussions with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.

Katz and Selinger met in person last week to discuss the completion of the Southwest Transitway, among other issues. City-provincial relations had faltered over the transitway completion, with Katz and Selinger differing over the source of funding for the project, which had a $350-million price tag before the city proposed placing it within a $600-million package of southwest Winnipeg infrastructure improvements.

Katz, however, is upbeat following his latest meeting with Selinger.

"It was a very, very positive dialogue. We have a good hope of moving forward on this," said the mayor, adding he also plans to meet with Manitoba's new regional minister, St. Boniface MP Shelly Glover. "I believe we'll have a deal before the year is over."

Katz played coy when asked whether the resumption of rapid-transit talks will put an end to intergovernmental sniping over infrastructure. "I don't think you hear me sniping. I just make statements," he said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2013 B1

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