Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Developers told to find new access routes to big-box site

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Proponents of a big-box mall near Winnipeg's northeastern boundary in East St. Paul have been told to find alternative access routes that do not involve city streets.

Jennifer Ferguson, manager of the Selkirk District planning board, said board members told the developers no decision will be reached on the project until alternative access routes are presented for the board's consideration.

Ferguson said the development plan amendment that would allow the project to proceed was originally to be decided at the board's January meeting.

Contrary to media reports, Ferguson said board members recently postponed the issue until alternative access routes could be considered.

"The board has not made a decision on it yet," Ferguson said Wednesday, adding there is no deadline for the board to make a decision on the project.

That was good news for North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty, who made good on a promise to block city streets eyed by the developer.

"I'm happy to see they are apparently not going to proceed with the project as presented," Browaty said. "I'm very skeptical that the developer will be able to come up with appropriate alternative accesses to the site."

North Kildonan residents, and some from East St. Paul who live inside the Perimeter Highway, are concerned about plans by Walmart Canada and developer SmartCentres to use their residential streets to access a shopping centre on a 19-hectare parcel of land tucked into the southwest corner of the Perimeter Highway and Lagimodiere Boulevard.

While the land is in East St. Paul, there is no access to the site from the rural community.

The province rejected requests from the developers and East St. Paul to construct access routes off the Perimeter Highway.

East St. Paul council offered to share some of the property-tax revenue from the development with Winnipeg in exchange for using Winnipeg streets to access the site. That deal was not accepted and city staff are preparing to block access to the site if the plan is approved.

The East Kildonan-Transcona community committee Tuesday night confirmed the city's plan to block two streets in North Kildonan -- Raleigh Street and Gateway Road -- the developers propose using as the main access to the site.

Winnipeg's administration says there are no departmental concerns about blocking the two roadways.

Browaty said Raleigh will be legally "closed on paper" as soon as possible, and physically closed if the project is approved.

Gateway doesn't reach the Winnipeg/East St. Paul boundary but the unopened portion north of Knowles Avenue will also be legally closed to prevent any future attempt to open a route to the development site.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2014 B2

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