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Cautious support for new development

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A potential new Shindico development on Taylor Avenue has residents cautiously in support.

John Pearson, a Shindico developer, along with other Shindico representatives, presented their plans for Grant Park Pavilions at the City Centre community committee meeting April 16. The new development, located on industrial land, is next to a Manitoba Hydro site, and could house a residential community, retail buildings, restaurants, offices, and a senior’s care facility, said Pearson.

"We are excited to unveil the first large-scale mixed-use development in Winnipeg’s history which is consistent with the OurWinnipeg complete community," said Pearson.
OurWinnipeg is an initiative adopted by Winnipeg City Council in July 2011 to replace Plan Winnipeg 2020 as the city’s official development plan for growth and change.

When developing the Pavilions, Shindico held open houses in February for residents along Taylor Avenue in River Heights and Grant Park. While technically not a requirement, Pearson said because it is a unique project, they wanted to involve the public.

"We thought it was important to educate the public as to what we were pursuing as it is different," said Pearson. "It required unique zoning and order for these uses to be clustered into one development."

Judy Plotkin, chairperson for the River Heights Residents Association (RHRA), attended the open houses but still had reservations. So Plotkin circulated a survey to the 189 members of the RHRA, receiving 75 responses.

At the community committee meeting Plotkin stated the RHRA was in support of the development, but with some very strong conditions found in survey feedback.  

The survey came back with mixed results. Though residents like the idea of increasing green space and an off-leash dog park, the biggest concerns were an increase in traffic, not enough green space, and the potential for big box stores in the area.

"Any of us living in the area are already overwhelmed by the bottleneck of traffic and how our streets are becoming thoroughfares to avoid the grid lock that is already happening," said Plotkin.

Though there were traffic studies done in the area and along Taylor Avenue, they haven’t been studied together, said John Orlikow, Councillor for the River Heights-Fort Garry ward.

"That’s going to involve a very large traffic study," said Orlikow. "To see where it is slowing and how it will change."

To combat gridlock at intersections Orlikow said changes will be made.

"There’s a couple design ideas, mostly adding stacking lanes so we can keep the flow moving through better, and having more access off of Pembina and onto Pembina," said Orlikow.

"Once we have the funding in place, which we now do, they’ll be doing that engineering work on-site."

"Anytime you do develop there is traffic," said Pearson. "We’ve designed the site with dispersing the traffic in as many possible directions as possible, and that always helps, and Taylor is a regional street that currently has about 25,000 vehicles a day, and its ideal for development to be constructed on a main artery in the city."

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