Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Confused council

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Coun. Justin Swandel has a point in demanding action on a prime piece of land at The Forks, known as Parcel 4, but his council motion to sell the land to The Forks for $6.5 million was bizarre for several reasons. As far as that goes, so was the response from other councillors.

The land cannot be offered for sale at a set price on a whim, as Mr. Swandel should know, but the subsequent lectures from other councillors on the need to follow process, conduct due diligence and consult with stakeholders was also confusing.

That's because city councillors agreed last May -- not an eternity ago -- that an organized process was needed to ensure the land was properly developed. The loose consensus emerged following the collapse of a proposal to build a waterpark and hotel on Parcel 4.

The leading advocate of "a well-defined process" was none other than Coun. Swandel.

Then, about 15 days ago, the Forks North Portage Partnership announced at its annual meeting it was in the middle of talks with city officials about acquiring Parcel 4. The Forks says it wants control of the land as it moves ahead with plans to develop its own lands along the mainline. Talks were said to be going well.

The Forks says it hopes to have something more concrete on the table next year, but no one will ever accuse the organization of proceeding with too much haste. The Forks has been talking about developing its lands for 10 years, and the community is still waiting.

Mr. Swandel is correct in wanting to move the yardsticks, and hopefully his outburst will accomplish just that.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 16, 2012 A14

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