Two new infill communities in Transcona got past their first hurdles on June 18.
At East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee that evening, the first phase of Genstar’s Devonshire Village neighbourhood was approved — but only after approximately two hours of back-and-forth between developer Dave Boles and Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) took the meeting well into the morning. The phase is bounded by Ravelston Avenue West to the north, Peguis Street to the west, Regent Avenue West to the south, and by the CNR line to the east.
Immediately afterward, Waterside Development Corporation’s application to develop the area just to the northwest was approved. The development will be bound by Ravelston to the south, Lagimodiere Boulevard to the west, the CPR line to the north, and Peguis to the east.
Each company’s applications will now be forwarded to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning, Property and Development, and will still need approval from the Executive Policy Committee and city council.
In Genstar’s case, the first of three phases in the 2,500-residential unit development calls for 209 single family homes, 10 multi-family lots with various size zonings, and two commercially-zoned sites.
Public hearings regarding the development were held at the committee’s meeting on May 21, but the decision was pushed back after Boles submitted a laundry list of changes to the public service report for the councillor to review. The changes primarily dealt with the company’s financial obligations in terms of amenities within the development.
"There were some changes made to the ACG (administrative co-ordinating group) report by the committee in their approval, but nothing that really struck us as being out of line or unfair," Boles said. "We, obviously, were asking for some of our own changes — some of which they agreed with, some of which, they didn’t... That’s the nature of the process."
In Waterside’s case, the company hopes to build 208 homes, 52 duplex or townhouse developments, and two multifamily units.
Consultant John Wintrup, who represented the company at the hearing and is a former principal planner with the city who worked on the Transcona West Area Structure Plan, is glad to see the area filled in.
"It was very satisfying to see something approved," said Wintrup. "It’s a fantastic opportunity to join Transcona with the rest of Winnipeg. It was a gap in the map of Winnipeg."
The bulk of residents who spoke at the Genstar hearing back in May were concerned about the traffic load in the neighbourhood, which they said was already a strain on the infrastructure.
Wyatt is confident that the plans to revamp the traffic flow will ease the flow in the development and in surrounding areas.
As part of the project, Reenders Drive will be extended to Peguis Street next summer, which will allow the city to close Almey Avenue near Lagimodiere Boulevard, preventing that route as a shortcut to get into Transcona. Wyatt later approved a motion to close Almey as of Jan. 1, 2015.
"The amenities, especially the off-site amenities, that we’re requiring this developer (Genstar) to do — and he’s agreed to it — are significant," Wyatt said. "The developer is agreeing to pay, at his cost, without repayment, the two lanes of connection with Reenders being built through to connect to Peguis."
Wyatt estimated the cost of the Reenders extension at approximately $1 million.
As well, Genstar is fronting the approximately $3.5 to 4 million it will take to connect Kildare Avenue West to Peguis under the name ‘Transcona Boulevard.’
Additionally, Genstar, Waterside, and North Grassie Properties are all on the hook for various amounts to twin Peguis. The city will have to pay the developers back, with interest, within five years of completion of each section.