River Heights is growing. A dramatic plan to develop the area at the south end of the neighbourhood will bring possibly the biggest construction project seen here in years.
The land in question is on the south side of Taylor Avenue and the proposed development includes a possible large retail store, hotel, restaurant, seniors’ care home, residential apartments and entertainment venues.
Shindico will be the prime developer of this 18-hectare site and it has some very ambitious plans indeed. A redevelopment plan was approved by City council’s property and development committee, although not unanimously. Committee chairman Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) was opposed, mainly due to not all details being known at the time, such as who will foot the bill for infrastructure costs such as site drainage for both this and the adjoining Parker wetlands.
Local councilor John Orlikow, though, is in favour of the development.
The plan was later approved by full council. However, there were still some concerns, such as securing intersection improvements to minimize traffic disruption in the neighbourhood and creation of a public park or green space with interconnecting paths.
The infill land is situated between Taylor Avenue and the CNR rail line and between Harrow Street and the Grant Park Festival shopping complex on Taylor.
Once completed the new development will be divided into four distinct areas. The Powersmart Pavilion will feature a large retailer and possible hotel with restaurant and entertainment facilities. Grant Park Mews and Grant Park Row are envisioned as residential areas with possible office and retail spaces. The Meeting Place, as its name suggests, will be a pedestrian area linked to active transportation options.
The development will abut the Parker wetlands site, which is also the favoured option of rapid transit expansion from its current Jubilee terminus to the University of Manitoba. The city is currently conducting a functional design study on how the second stage of rapid transit will impact this area.
To appease growing traffic concerns in the neighbourhood, the city is once again looking at building an underpass for the rail crossing on Waverley Street and $1.2 million has been allocated for a preliminary engineering study.
Trevor Smith is a community correspondent for River Heights. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org