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City Hall Roundup

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N. Kildonan site on tap

A 24-hectare industrial site in North Kildonan will be converted into a higher-density residential neighbourhood with a commercial "town centre" at its heart.

Today, city council's property and development committee will take the first step toward approving a master plan for the Palliser Major Redevelopment Site, a patch of industrial land south of Springfield Road and east of Gateway Road.

A master plan published by the city calls for a "pedestrian-oriented, medium- to high-density residential community" with commercial development at its heart.

The Palliser site is one of 11 large chunks of underused land the city hopes to convert into residential and commercial areas.

Red-ink projection

FINANCIAL figures from the end of June suggest the city is heading toward an $11.2-million deficit by the end of 2013 -- but the mid-year projections rarely translate into red ink.

A June 30 city financial status report projects an $11.2-million deficit on a total operating budget of $923 million, thanks in part to high snow-clearing costs early in the year. The June 30 report almost always points to a deficit. It is customary for the city to wind up with a modest surplus at the end of the year.

The city took the unusual step of issuing a news release about the routine report, highlighting the need to cut costs from the police service.


Grocery study coming

A study into the feasibility of a major downtown grocer concludes such a business would have tight profit margins.

Former grocer Peter Kaufmann's report is expected to be presented to council next week, said Tom Janzen, development manager for CentreVenture, which commissioned the report.

It's no surprise to hear a downtown grocer would be a marginal venture, he said, but added there is an urgent need for a grocer to replace the Zellers store that closed in the basement of the Bay on Portage Avenue.


Hotel deadline looms

CONSTRUCTION on a new hotel connected to the Winnipeg Convention Centre must begin soon in order to meet the deadlines for the expansion of the convention centre, city council's downtown committee was told Monday.

In January, CentreVenture negotiated the $6.5-million purchase of the Carlton Hotel to make room for a new hotel that will be attached to the expanded convention centre. Work on the project has yet to begin -- and must commence in order for the hotel to provide revenues needed for the project, the committee was told.


Transit e-readers delay?

WINNIPEG Transit's new electronic fare-collection system may not be ready to roll until 2014. New smart-card readers are slated to be installed this fall. But transit expects to conduct "extensive testing before rolling the system," a spokeswoman said. The system should be running by July, a city report said.


City manages HQ tower

CITY of Winnipeg real estate staff are managing the tower portion of police headquarters.

Last fall, council's property committee asked officials to cancel Shindico Realty's property-management contract for the Graham Avenue tower, acquired by the city as part of the $30-million purchase of the former Canada Post building.

At the time, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation raised questions about the awarding of the contract.

Shindico won it because it ranked first on a 2008 request for qualifications (RFQ) from companies capable of providing real estate services for the city as well as on a 2010 followup search for the same services.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation complained last year the search did not spell out the fact the city was also looking for a property manager.

The city issued a search for a new property manager but decided to conduct the work itself, stated a report bound for the property committee today.

Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation complained Monday city staff did not immediately cancel Shindico's contract and allowed an extension until the end of June 2013, more than seven months after the council committee ordered the contract over.

Shindico officials, who helped the city acquire the building, have said it made sense for them to continue to manage the property.


-- Bartley Kives

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2013 B1

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