Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Councillor firm on blockade threat in Walmart row

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NORTH Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty says he'll make good on a threat to blockade city streets to ensure they can't be used as access points to a proposed shopping centre in neighbouring East St. Paul.

Browaty said he'll also go to a public hearing in Selkirk Wednesday to speak against the proposal.

"This is completely unique and new for me," Browaty said about going to another municipality to oppose a development project.

Local residents are concerned about plans by Walmart and developer SmartCentres to use residential streets to access a large shopping centre on a 19-hectare parcel of land tucked into the corner of the Perimeter Highway and Lagimodiere Boulevard.

While the land is on the city's doorsteps in East St. Paul, there is no access to the site from the rural community.

East St. Paul council has instructed its chief administrative officer to negotiate a deal with Winnipeg, offering to share some of the property tax revenue from the development in exchange for using Winnipeg streets to access the site.

The Selkirk district planning board, which regulates development in the rural community, is holding a public hearing Nov. 20 to consider changing the property's designation from mixed use residential/institutional to commercial.

Browaty said he agrees with the North Kildonan residents it's not acceptable to use the surrounding residential streets in Winnipeg to access a large commercial development.

Browaty said the project would create traffic headaches for North Kildonan neighbourhoods.

"The amount of undue traffic (from the project) on the local roads isn't feasible," Browaty said.

Browaty said Gateway Road and Raleigh Street could be blockaded until the proper paperwork is passed that would prevent their extension to East St. Paul.

"Hopefully, once these motions are taken, SmartCentres will take it as a clear indication their plans are not feasible and withdraw, but until that happens, that's the plan of attack right now."

Browaty said he's not opposed to the location of the development but said the province should allow access points from within East St. Paul -- from the north Perimeter or Lagimodiere.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2013 B1

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Updated on Friday, November 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM CST: Adds link to map.

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