Wellington Crescent condos get green light


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A controversial Wellington Crescent condominium project will proceed after multiple rejections by city hall due to neighbourhood complaints.

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A controversial Wellington Crescent condominium project will proceed after multiple rejections by city hall due to neighbourhood complaints.

Council’s appeal committee cast a two-to-one final vote on Wednesday in favour of property owner Jeff Thompson. He had appealed a decision by the city centre community committee, which had rejected height and yard size variances for the 514 Wellington Cres. project.

The site at the corner of Wellington and Kingsway used to have a two-storey brick house that had been built in 1909. It sold in 2016 and was demolished in late 2020.

Despite complaints from several residents that the planned condo building is far too large to match the character of their stately neighbourhood, Couns. Janice Lukes and Devi Sharma said it will create quality infill development.

“In the city, we have to have an increase in the diversity of housing choices. We have to use land more efficiently and we have to use our services and infrastructure more efficiently,” said Lukes.

The latest decision follows years of heated debate. It will allow the four-storey, eight-unit condo building to reach a height of 49.9 feet tall, instead of a maximum 35 feet, and replace a minimum front yard space with a “loading and queuing area.”

During the meeting, several community members opposed the taller structure, arguing the 35-foot height limit should be maintained.

“It will dwarf the surrounding buildings. It changes the character of the neighbourhood. It sets a dangerous precedent,” said resident Christine Skene.

Previous variances for the project were rejected by the city centre committee in January 2022 and the exact height change was rejected by that committee just last month. Skene said the city should make the builder follow limits set in local bylaws to help ensure new developments don’t negatively affect their neighbours.

By contrast, a planner who spoke on behalf of the developer said the proposal would enhance the neighbourhood, while also preserving the historic trees and fence around it.

“(It) will add to the neighbourhood. It will be built from the finest materials to the highest standards and (respect) the historical elements of the neighbourhood…We are not looking to do anything out of context with the existing surrounding area,” said Michelle Richard, the principal and owner of M Richard & Associates Ltd.

Richard said that includes ensuring the proposed building footprint will only use up 23 per cent of the property to help “maintain the contextual feel of the area.”

City planning staff recommended the project be approved after concluding its size was a good fit for the area.

Only Coun. Russ Wyatt voted against granting the appeal to let the project go through, while Coun. Markus Chambers was absent at the time of the vote.

Wyatt made several comments in support of the project but voted against it after appeal committee members defeated an amendment he had put forward. That proposed change would have required a plan approval process for the building to return to the city centre community committee.

Lukes said that wasn’t necessary because the city has already imposed a condition that the design must conform to the approved plans.


Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.


Updated on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 5:58 PM CST: Revises first three grafs

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