December 15, 2019

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City quickly approves land deal with Parmalat

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/7/2015 (1614 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In less than 24 hours, city hall has approved a deal to sell 15 acres of land to Parmalat Canada Inc. and pay millions to have it serviced.

In an effort to keep the dairy company in Winnipeg, the province and city offered the dairy producers a deal to help fund the sewer and water servicing infrastructure for the proposed 15-acre site.

Winnipeg City Councillor Jenny Gerbasi defended the swiftness of the deal, noting negotiations between the city and Parmalat only concluded on Monday, hence why councillors only saw the report on Tuesday.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg City Councillor Jenny Gerbasi defended the swiftness of the deal, noting negotiations between the city and Parmalat only concluded on Monday, hence why councillors only saw the report on Tuesday.

The deal was endorsed by executive policy committee early Wednesday morning at a special meeting, held to move the deal along so it could be approved at the last council meeting before summer break.

The cost of servicing the area will cost an estimated $8.2 million.

Parmalat will contribute $1.5 million of that, the province will contribute $2 million and the city will contribute $2.1 million.

Parmalat’s future in Winnipeg was in jeopardy after the city moved to rescind a joint venture between the city and Terracon to develop 237 acres of unserviced, vacant, city-owned land at the Prairie Industrial Park. They could not agree on which party would cover the cost of provincial education taxes at the development.

Coun. Russ Wyatt was the sole vote against the deal, noting it was "rammed through" council too quickly, right before the summer break. He is concerned the remaining acres of unserviced land at the industrial park will stay vacant, now that there is no joint venture.

"Due process is not being respected," Wyatt told council as he explained why he would vote against the sale.

The remaining balance of $2.9 million for the servicing costs will be offset by sale proceeds.

Property and development chairman Coun. John Orlikow told council he wished there had been more time to consider the deal, but noted the deal had to be done to keep Parmalat in Winnipeg.

"That risk we are taking is warranted in my opinion, to make sure Parmalat stays here," Orlikow said.

Coun. Jenn Gerbasi defended the swiftness of the deal, noting negotiations between the city and Parmalat only concluded on Monday, hence why councillors only saw the report on Tuesday.

"I think we should thank our administration when they solve problems quickly," she said. "There is no conspiracy here."

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca

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