The final master plan for the redevelopment of the 160-acre former Kapyong Barracks site is scheduled to be approved by the board of Treaty One Development Corp. in the next couple of weeks
And with the completion of Department of National Defence’s demolition of the underground infrastructure by October, the site will finally be ready for redevelopment by the end of the year.
Tim Daniels, the chief operating officer of Treaty One Development Corp., told about 200 members of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce at a virtual luncheon on Thursday that while he can’t say exactly when construction might begin, the project will create "endless" opportunities for the greater community of Manitoba including First Nations people.
The project is a 68-32 per cent partnership between Treaty One Development Corp. — itself a partnership with seven First Nations: Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, Long Plain First Nation, Peguis First Nation, Roseau River Anishinaabe First Nation, Sagkeeng First Nation, Sandy Bay First Nation, and Swan Lake First Nation — and Canada Lands Corp.
A detailed concept plan was released in October, that imagines a sprawling mixed use project including high- and low-density residential, office, retail, cultural institutions, green space and schools, for what will eventually be a $1-billion-plus development.
Last month, Treaty One Development Corp was named one of the "10 to Watch" by the Indigenomics Institute for its role in what will become "the most dynamic Indigenous economic zones in Canada" and that it will play a major role in the growing national Indigenous economy which is expected to rapidly increase from its current value of $32 billion to $100 billion in the next five years, according to the institute.
Daniels said his group will start to focus on development on a small, nine-acre parcel east of Kenaston Boulevard on the north side of Taylor which will be developed and owned by Treaty One Development Corp.
Among other things, that $100-million development will include office and apartment buildings, a strip mall and gas station.
In his remarks, Daniels spent some time dispelling misconceptions people might have about urban reserves.
"We pay taxes," he said.
Urban reserves are becoming important economic development vehicles for First Nations, Daniels said, many of which are impeded from development by nature of their remoteness and lack of infrastructure including fibre-optic broadband connections.
But he said the Indigenous community in the province is a real force to be reckoned with, quoting from a study released in 2018 that shows that, in total, the Indigenous population in Manitoba contributes $9.3 billion to the Manitoba economy
Daniels was the longtime CEO of Long Plains’ three-acre urban reserve on Madison Street near Polo Park, and he said that project, which now boasts one of the most successful Petro Canada gas stations in the country, was made a success at least partially because of community engagement that was done.
"We met with our neighbours face to face," he said.
Management of the Kapyong project is clearly aware of the need for that level of engagement and Daniels believes that the community at large has been kept up to date throughout this lengthy process that has been ongoing for more than 10 years now.
Daniels said the project represents an important source of economic opportunity for Indigenous youth in the province.
"We have charted out 15 years of potential opportunities for our people, with a focus on our youth, and for all of Manitobans," he said. "This really is something to look forward to for our young people."
Not only will it be the largest urban reserve in the country, Daniels said unlike many others that are small pieces of land located on the outskirts of populated cities, this one is situated "deep in an affluent area of a major metropolis."
Daniels said there are still lots of pre-site planning and design for the permitting and infrastructure that still has to take place.
But his message to members of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce was clearly that the project will create all sorts of business opportunities for the entire Manitoba business community.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.