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Corydon blueprint shot down

Biz owners reject work already done, seek new plan

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A plan to create guidelines to reduce conflict over new Corydon Avenue restaurants and housing has been thrown out after several area business owners complained city planners and the area councillor are trying to stifle growth.

Without prior notice, Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) introduced a motion at council's property's committee Tuesday that called on Winnipeg to take the unprecedented step of terminating work on secondary plans for the Corydon neighbourhood.

The Corydon area is expected to grow due to the introduction of rapid transit. The city started to draft secondary plans as a tool to help mediate conflict from new infill or business developments.

Wyatt said the process has been "poisoned" and the city should stop work on the planning process in light of concerns from the Corydon Avenue BIZ and business owners who allege the plan will restrict development and shut down local restaurants. Wyatt argued the city should start a new planning process.

Council's property committee voted to terminate the secondary plans, despite objections from city property director Barry Thorgrimson, who called the move "very disturbing" since the city would have to rehash all the data it has already collected at a significant cost to the taxpayer.

The Corydon Avenue BIZ and several business owners sent a letter to Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) and other city officials last Friday, calling the process a "stop-growth plan."

Pizza Hotline president Jerry Cianflone he would not have been able to build Café 22 under the new planning guidelines, which he said limits cocktail lounges and restricts the height of buildings to four storeys on one side of the street. He said city planners and Gerbasi have not listened to the concerns, and alleged Gerbasi has influenced the process.

Gerbasi said those concerns are premature, as the plan has not been written yet and the restrictions businesses complain about are already in place. She said the plan is not meant to restrict new development, but figure out what makes sense as the neighbourhood evolves.

"I do believe there are some politics going on here," Gerbasi said. "I have a very strong voice on this council, often opposing the mayor and it may be possible some people are looking to use this to try to undermine my efforts in the community."

Wyatt said the Corydon business community has expressed an interest in helping to fund a subsequent planning process.

Property chairman Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said parking is one of the neighbourhood's biggest problems and the planning process did not address that.

He said Corydon has seen successful developments arise from few restrictions and the new planning process doesn't have to be as in-depth.

"Overall, what's there works, why mess with it?" Browaty said.

And there's more...

OTHER things that happened at city hall:

Stadium sale: Council's property committee voted to sell Canad Inns Stadium to Cadillac Fairview/Shindico for $30.25 million, which includes the cost of demolition. A city report said Cadillac Fairview/Shindico is actively pursuing an agreement with Target, involving 3.2 hectares at the northwest corner of the stadium site. Two additional retail buildings, which will be 7,000 square feet apiece, will also be part of the first phase of the new development. Site work is to be completed by fall 2013. The second phase will include a mixed-use development, and is anticipated to be finished by 2018.

North Perimeter Park: Council's property committee voted to sell a prime plot of riverfront land in West St. Paul for $2.5 million. Last week, the city released a report that recommends Winnipeg sell North Perimeter Park, an 18-hectare parcel in West St. Paul the city has owned since 1971, to Waterside Development Corp. City council previously voted in favour a plan to market and sell the land, located on Main Street just south of the Perimeter Highway interchange.

Electronic signs: Council's property committee tabled a long-awaited report with new rules that govern where electronic signs can be placed outside of the downtown, limiting their size, height and brightness. Property chairman Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said the committee will deal with the report in September to give industry officials time to review the proposed changes.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2012 B1

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