A Charleswood citizens’ group says it will oppose a precinct plan for the residential development of Ridgewood South at an upcoming public hearing at city hall.
Wendy Josephson, who chairs the environmental committee of the Charleswood Citizens for Habitat Preservation (CCHP), said her group will hold a meeting at the Roblin Park Community Centre on June 12 at 7 p.m. to prepare for a June 25 public hearing on the proposed development.
"We’re going to be a little more aggressive than we have been," Josephson said.
Ridgewood South, as described in the precinct plan that passed first reading at city council on May 29, is about 950 acres of land on the south side of Charleswood bounded by the Perimeter Highway, Wilkes Avenue, and the Assiniboine Forest.
The plan, prepared by Landmark Planning and Design for the city and developers, predicts about 8,000 new residents will call the development home within 10 to 20 years.
Josephson said the CCHP, contrary to media reports, is not satisfied with only 10% of the land being set aside for natural habitat.
"We are going to stick to the 25%, and what we’ve done is we’ve outlined areas that we’re going to take to the (public hearing at the Assiniboia Community Committee).
She said the group has identified valuable habitat areas in the city’s Ridgewood South Natural Area Assessment as well as the Ridgewood South Precinct Biological Inventory study prepared for Qualico — the primary developer.
"The recommendations are pretty concise and clear as to what areas are significant," Josephson said, in reference to the biological inventory.
The group also wants more clarity on the extension of the William R. Clement Parkway, notably assurances that it will be extended at least as far as Wilkes Avenue and not stop at Ridgewood Avenue.
Doing so would put a "huge transportation presence right at the Harte Trail, so why not put it right through to Wilkes? That’s a huge bone of contention for us," Josephson said.
The CCHP has an executive of eight, but communicates with a mailing list of over 300 residents, Josephson said.
Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck said her vote to pass the precinct plan at first reading does not signify she favours it.
"I’m neither supporting nor rejecting the plan at this point," Havixbeck said.
"I voted to begin the dialogue on it. That’s what the passing of the first reading does, it opens it up and allows it to come to Community Committee and we can hear from all these people."
She said the "ideal scenario" would be extending the William R. Clement Parkway all the way to Bishop Grandin.
Funding the extension is still a question mark, she said, as there’s no money budgeted for it, although the city’s Transportation Master Plan calls for extending the parkway to Wilkes.
Havixbeck cannot comment on the development itself as it works its way through city hall, she said, which frustrates her constituents.
"I have people writing me in on both sides of it and I can’t comment. They say ‘where do you stand?’ and I say ‘I can’t take a stand on it,’" she said.
"We’ll hear delegations, and then make modifications (to the precinct plan), or it can be scrapped, or accepted as it is."
The precinct plan, as well as the biological inventory and a myriad of other information related to the development, can be found online at www.ridgewoodplan.com