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Mixed-use development at Forks: public

Officials review suggestions for vacant land

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Officials have their work cut out for them trying to conceptualize the public's ideas for two vacant parcels of land at The Forks.

A public consultation process conducted by The Forks earlier this year found Winnipeggers want the space to be everything, for everybody.

What people want



SOME of the comments from individuals who took part in public consultation for possible uses of the Parcel 4 and Rail-side lands.


"People have a sense of ownership of The Forks. What goes there should be a showcase for the city. We need to have this (plan) be a model of 'best practice' for the city."


"I think a restaurant and café conÔ¨Åguration with a piazza and fountain would enable people to come to The Forks and stay down there and dine and hear live music, etc. Right now The Forks is completely dead after 6 p.m. except for one or two restaurants."


"Making it all green space would be easy, but wouldn't solve a more complex problem. A park would be covered in snow most of the time. We have to recognize that we are a winter city. You won't be able to draw people there with just a park."


"We are seeing the beginning of a pedestrian network in our downtown. We need pedestrian connectivity between our busy downtown anchors like the MTS Centre and The Forks. How do we get people to walk through this site to the rest of the downtown? That is the question."


"I would like to see large, eye-catching public art and a number of patios and cafés to infuse street life into the area. Of course, all of this in front of multi-level residential and commercial."


"A cool green space where relaxation, learning and exercise are possible."


"We are losing too much of our green spaces downtown. Nowhere to sit and think surrounded by green. These spaces can be enjoyed by all ages."


"There is interest in making sure that some things happen there and people have ideas of what kind of things," Jim August, CEO of The Forks, said.

August brought the results of the first phase of the consultation process to a civic committee Monday on lands known as Parcel 4 and Rail side.

Parcel 4 is the city-owned land at the southwest corner of Waterfront Drive and William Stephenson Way immediately west of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The Rail-side land is part of The Forks proper and is located south of York Avenue.

Parcel 4 has been used as a parking lot for Shaw Park, the baseball stadium that is the home of the Winnipeg Goldeyes. It became the subject of much public interest when city hall agreed to sell it last year to an Alberta developer who was going to build a hotel and water park.

But public outrage -- that a water park and modest hotel were inappropriate facilities next to the new museum -- prompted council to cancel the deal, later asking The Forks to determine what can be done with the land.

The Forks obtained public input through workshops and via online forums and conducted interviews with various agencies.

August told the committee the public favours a mixed-use development for both parcels of land, including retail and restaurants, a mix of public and private spaces, and multi-unit housing.

"There is this idea of having something like The Forks, only more," August said. "So now our job is to take that information and really look at what kind of options, from a land-use planning perspective, we can come up with."

Surprisingly, August said there were suggestions for a water park but only if it fit into a cohesive theme for the site.

August said various concepts and designs based on the consultations will be brought forward by March 2014.

Read the 'Go to the Waterfront' report

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 19, 2013 A5

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