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City eyes infill housing for St. James
The city is eyeing infill housing for a plot of land in St. James it has put up for sale and redevelopment.
The city is accepting offers for the half-acre plot at 440 Collegiate St. and Silver Avenue — previously home to two outdoor hockey rinks belonging to the former Airways Community Centre — until Fri., July 6.
Although the land is currently zoned for parks and recreational use, Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) said the city would like to see some form of infill housing take shape on the site.
"From a city point of view, the planning department wouldn’t recommend condominiums," he said, noting the airport’s zoning regulations set out criteria for new buildings that are built around the airport.
"What I’d like to see there is single family homes. You could probably fit four to five houses on that bit of land. That’s the zoning our department would probably support."
The Airways Community Centre was started by area residents in 1951.
Shortly after a fire caused $50,000 in damages to the site in 1972, the club amalgamated with the Border Community Centre around 1975 to form the Bord-Aire Community Centre on Hampton Street.
Steve Bemrose, who served as president of Bord-Aire for six years back in the 1980s, said the Airways site remained open as a satellite site until the spring 1979 when it closed.
Bord-Aire used the rinks until around 1990, when the City of Winnipeg declared them unsafe to use.
Since then, the site hasn’t been well maintained, and was often used as a parking lot until the city put signs up that stopped the habit.
"It’s not an eyesore, just a waste of space," said Bemrose, who lives nearby on Roseberry Street.
"No one’s been able to use it for anything."
Bemrose supports the land being used for housing.
"It makes sense," he said.
"The city can get some tax revenue from the site. It’s been sitting there not collecting any revenue for all these years."
Blaine Gibson, who has lived in his Collegiate Street home for four years, said he enjoys seeing an open green space from his window.
Area residents have used the field for bocce, badminton, Frisbee and soccer, he said, adding he’d like to see it kept as a field space.
"I’d like to see something go up. I would like to take my daughter there to skate if I could," he said.
However, Gibson acknowledged the need for additional housing and understands the desire to open up the land for single-family homes.
"The bike trail is awesome and there are lots of parks nearby," he said, noting the nearby Bord-Aire Community Centre.
"There’s lots of free space."
Up to $200,000 from the proceeds of the sale of the land will go to the new Sturgeon Heights Community Centre, Fielding said.
The money will help towards building new outdoor hockey rinks for the facility Fielding is hoping will be built later this year.
"It’s an old community club site, so even though there hasn’t been a club there for a while, you want to maintain recreational amenities and enhance them when you can," he said.
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