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Community reacts to plans for former community club site

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Silver Heights resident Dan Miller has mixed feelings about seeing the former Silver Heights Community Centre being turned into a strip mall.

Miller, a former board member of the SHCC — which has since been amalgamated with Sturgeon Heights Community Centre on Rita Street — says there were a lot of great memories attached to the old facility, but admits that times change.

"We were wondering what was going to happen to this property and this looks very positive," Miller says.

Miller attended a Nov. 3 open house at St. Stephen’s and St. Bede’s Church organized by Jatinder Sharma, who purchased the property.

Representatives from commercial real estate company Avison Young and designer Jomar Briones were also in attendance with a digital presentation of what the new site will look like and how it will fit into the area.

Sharma says he hand delivered open house invitations to 125 neighbours surrounding the old community centre and the response was 99% positive.

One of the only concerns was if there was to be a fence in back of the property separating it from the neighbours. Sharma says there will be a fence measuring up to six and a half feet in height as well as a 10-foot landscaping strip behind the mall.

The property, located at 2080 Ness Ave., will have 104 parking spots and approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space.

Sharma says there have been five revisions to the plans for the property in conjunction with the city.

Area resident Barb Lemky thinks a mall will help to revitalize this portion of Ness Avenue, and would like to see an ATM on the property since there is a lack of banking institutions on the strip.

"I’d also like to see some sort of mom and pop type of restaurant because there are not a lot of those in this area," Lemky says.

Sharma says that he hasn’t started to approach retail businesses to lease a spot on the property yet as there’s still work to do before the project can move ahead. The property must be rezoned from park to commercial usage at an Assiniboia community committee meeting that Sharma expects to happen in the next few months. Once that happens he can start approaching businesses to occupy the space.

In the meantime, the ice rinks currently on the site will stay open and operate this winter until Sharma officially takes over the property next May.

Trevor Suffield is a community correspondent for St. James-Assiniboia. You can contact him at trevorsuffield@gmail.com.

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