From traffic troubles to fire hall fiascos, community celebrations and schools on alert, 2012 was another busy year of news and development, or in some cases, non-development, in St. James-Assiniboia.
As toes are dipped in the waters of 2013, The Metro breaks down three developments expected to see movement in the New Year:
1.) Polo Park: Amidst the holiday crunch of cars and traffic jams, it’s hard to blame Mayor Sam Katz for shopping for a little bit of good PR in early December, announcing a minimum of $30 million will be spent on traffic improvements around Polo Park.
Katz announced the funding — two-thirds coming from the sale of Canad Inns Stadium to Polo Park Holdings — along with several proposals he believes will cure congestion in the area.
Those options include intersection improvements, widening of the west portion of Empress Street, and extending St. Matthews Avenue to Century Street. Each of these will require property acquisitions.
However, some business owners on St. Matthews think the city is putting the cart before the horse. They say they have yet to hear from the city or their landlords about expropriation.
Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) says work will begin this summer, when construction is also expected to begin on Target at the old stadium site.
❑ ❑ ❑
2.) Grace Hospital: The Grace Hospital Foundation is poised to announce a capital campaign raising funds for an emergency room expansion, which will include a new MRI suite.
The capital campaign will likely support the $22 million the province announced in 2011 for the expansion, which also includes the purchase of new state-of-the-art medical equipment.
The current Grace ER was built in 1967, and hasn’t received significant new investment since 1992, hospital officials have said.
The ER expansion is part of a flurry of other developments planned for the Grace, which include the 65,000-sq. ft. ACCESS St. James centre and a specialized 10-bed unit to deal with the growing number of seniors using the hospital’s ER department.
❑ ❑ ❑
3.) Sturgeon Heights Rinks: The old Sturgeon Creek Community Centre on Rita Street once boasted what was arguably the best outdoor ice in the community, so it’s been a long haul for nearby residents who have gone without rinks for three years as the club amalgamated with Silver Heights and built a new clubhouse.
Temporary rinks were put up this year to complement the two at Silver Heights that will remain open before the property switches hands this spring.
According to Fielding, the new rinks at Sturgeon Heights "will be built right after hockey season, early in the spring."
Fielding says money for the rinks has always been a part of the new club’s budget, even when it increased from $4.5 million to $5.5 million following design changes and construction delays.
The city largely financed the construction of the new Sturgeon Heights club with money from the sale of the old Silver Heights club on Ness Avenue, along with funding from the province and the former Airways Community Centre site to pay for the rinks, Fielding said.