City hall approves three apartment blocks for Northgate mall
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Winnipeg City Council will allow a new residential development at the Northgate Shopping Centre, despite neighbours’ objections.
On Wednesday, the appeal committee rejected an appeal against the project, which council approved in February.
“This is going to (have) a big impact for (the opposing residents) but… we’re trying to have a vision of the city. We are looking at infill and where that should be and this is a corridor that I think is a great space for it,” said Coun. Cindy Gilroy.
The development proposes to add three apartment buildings, with 204 housing units, and preserve the shopping centre. A “sharing library” with books, films and tools, as well as a rental hall, daycare, new pedestrian paths, rooftop amenity space and a main-floor playground would be included.
“Just having all the amenities right there… this is really, really great. That’s what I’d like to see at Portage Place, where you have all these amenities and people that live there can (easily) use those amenities,” said Gilroy.
Meanwhile, multiple neighbours of the 1399 McPhillips St. site launched an appeal to try to stop the project over concerns it would increase traffic congestion, parking woes and road safety hazards.
“A previous redevelopment at Northgate has caused havoc in the area with inadequate parking and poor traffic flow through the mall area … this is only making the existing problem even larger,” said Allison LaBelle.
LaBelle said the development would exacerbate the lack of parking, noting the plan calls for some parking stalls to be shared by shoppers and residents. It would also add traffic to routes that at times see 18 to 20 cars pass by in just five minutes, she said.
“These residential apartment (buildings) are too big… double and triple the size that they should be … To do right by our community, the project should be stopped,” said LaBelle.
The plans call for the construction of three buildings — nine, seven and six storeys tall — with variances reducing the minimum yard space required around them.
Coun. Brian Mayes joined Gilroy to vote in favour of the project, while appeal committee councillors Ross Eadie and Vivian Santos couldn’t participate in the hearing because they took part in a previous one on the matter.
Mayes said he felt the large lot is suitable for infill and the size of the project is reasonable.
Mayor Scott Gillingham expressed support for the development in a letter to appeal committee members on Wednesday, which argues “projects like this one are critical to the city’s future.”
“It is consistent with both our effort to build more integrated communities, and our city objectives around new infill housing development… If we need infill housing — and we do — then it’s better it be built at Northgate instead of deep in single-family neighbourhoods where any resistance and disruption will be far stronger,” wrote Gillingham.
Proponents said parking is sufficient and the development will create at least 20 units of affordable housing for families, increase the city’s overall number of rental units and develop a “complete community” where residents won’t need vehicles to reach shopping, groceries and Winnipeg Transit.
“This site, in our opinion, is an ideal location for medium-density, multi-family infill housing… (It’s also) within less than a five-minute walk of bus stops on both McPhillips and Inkster and the location (is) at a community shopping centre site, with shops and services that provide day-to-day needs,” said Susan Russell, president of the McGowan Russell Group, the applicant for the project.
The appeal committee decision is considered a final vote.
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.