Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Groups share future vision for cop shop
Deadline for sale of old building put back until Sept. 28
Community groups are applauding the city’s decision to push back the sale of the former police station in St. Boniface, saying it buys time to develop a future vision for the Étienne Gaboury-designed building.
The 21,525-sq. ft. building at 227 Provencher Blvd. was previously up for sale for multi-use development with a demolition sale condition and a July 13 deadline for offers.
Walter Kleinschmit, president of the Old St. Boniface Residents’ Association, said the demolition condition has now been lifted and the deadline extended to Sept. 28 after community members opposed the move and area councillor Dan Vandal intervened.
Following a recent public meeting organized by OSBRA — in collaboration with Entreprises Riel, Provencher Blvd. BIZ and the Centre culturel franco-manitobain — Kleinschmit said invested groups can now begin the process of meeting with the city, in a constructive way, to preserve the integrity of the building as a public place at the natural centre of historic St. Boniface.
"The general consensus is that we don’t want to lose this building, as it’s a well-known piece of our architectural history," he said, noting the location is an important centre and tourist attraction that includes the offices of the Festival du Voyageur and a sculpture garden.
The goal is to now identify and develop options to resue the building and work with Vandal to crystallize a viable action plan focusing on the best ideas before the Sept. 28 deadline, he said.
Vandal said he is pleased with the level of public engagement in the process.
"I simply want to attract a viable, thriving enterprise to that wonderful space. I think it is great the community is interested," he said.
"Now we have to transform good brainstorming into realistic proposals."
The current list of ideas includes a provincial court, a community police service centre, new office space for Pluri-elles, a bistro in the style of the Winnipeg Free Press News Café and a co-operative centre, modelled on the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in Moncton, N.B.
"We’re looking at a co-operative for artists, painters and graphic designers — a place to bring young talent together. Personally, I think this is the most exciting option," Kleinschmit said.
A representative of Winnipeg Film Group, most commonly known for Cinematheque, made a presentation at the recent meeting, although the organization won’t be bidding for space before the September deadline, despite long-term intentions of moving from its Exchange District location and an interest in St. Boniface.
"Wherever we end up, in my opinion Cinematheque would be a cornerstone tenant," said WFG’s executive director Cecilia Araneda, who lives in Elmwood.
"When you come across the bridge, that stretch of St. Boniface has a better perception of safety and parking than where we’re located now. Also, it’s a bit of a residential neighbourhood, so people can walk about venues a bit more casually."
"The station’s architecture is interesting and it fits into our vision of a hub, so we’ll be looking at the area in the future," she added.
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(1 of 13 articles for this week)06/12/2013 1:00 AM 0
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