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City Hall roundup

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Street blockade backed

NORTH Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty has assurances from colleagues on a civic committee that two streets in his ward will be closed to prevent their use as access to a proposed shopping mall in neighbouring East St. Paul.

The property and development committee accepted Browaty's recommendation to hold public hearings to close Gateway Road and Raleigh Street -- two residential streets in North Kildonan that a Toronto-area developer wants to use as access to a new Walmart in East St. Paul.

The proposed development has drawn strong opposition from North Kildonan residents and from East St. Paul residents who live inside the Perimeter and adjacent to the proposed mall: Both groups fear the development would lead to increased traffic on nearby residential streets.

A public hearing on the Walmart project was held last month in Selkirk but no decision has been made.

Browaty said he would support the shopping mall if the developers were allowed to build an access road off the Perimeter Highway, but added the province so far refuses to do that.

The call for public hearings still must be approved by city council.

Raleigh will remain open, Browaty said, as long the mall project does not go ahead. However, he added, city officials can block both streets for up to a year without a public hearing if the mall is fast-tracked before the public hearing process is completed.

City sells Fort Rouge land

CITY hall is going to sell a portion of the land it acquired for the first stage of the southwest rapid transit corridor.

The property and planning department approved the sale of 15,430 square metres of CN Rail's former Fort Rouge lands to a developer for $1.3 million.

The city acquired the property in 2009 in a controversial swap with developer Andrew Marquess, acquiring some of the Fort Rouge lands in exchange for giving Marquess a parcel of semi-forested land in the Parker neighbourhood, in northwest Fort Garry.

City officials said the developer, Streetside Development Corp., offered $200,000 more than the asking price and the company plans to develop the site for multi-family housing.

Planning boss alarmed

FUNDING cuts in the 2014 budget worry the city's director of planning.

Barry Thorgrimson said the budget juggling has left little cash in several key reserve accounts and not enough money to keep or attract new staff.

Thorgrimson said the department is losing key professionals to the private sector and can't offer competitive salaries and benefits. "We do our best to provide good working conditions... but that will only get you so far," he told the property and development committee.

The city's economic development reserve account is down to $1 million and the heritage account is in the red, he added.

The city hasn't set aside funds to update its buildings, he said, citing the Sherbrook Pool as an example.

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 4, 2013 B5

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