January 22, 2020

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Marion Street interchange project 'likely dead': public works committee chairwoman

A rendering of the $250-million plan, involving the destruction of two neighbourhoods with the expropriation and demolition of more than 140 properties, including a Sikh temple and a neighbourhood park.

A rendering of the $250-million plan, involving the destruction of two neighbourhoods with the expropriation and demolition of more than 140 properties, including a Sikh temple and a neighbourhood park.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/10/2015 (1566 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A group of St. Boniface residents says it believes its opposition to the $250-million Marion Street interchange project was ignored because city officials have linked the plan to a proposed bus rapid-transit corridor through the area.

Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the public works committee, Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert), said the Marion project is likely dead now that the ward councillor, Matt Allard, has come out against it, too.

Lukes said the public works department will bring the project to the committee for consideration, but she doesn’t believe there is support any longer for it on council.

"I never supported it from Day 1 and it doesn’t look like" there is support for it any longer, Lukes said.

Sandra Dupuis, founder and treasurer of the Seine River Bonivital Residents Association, said a senior transit official confirmed to the group the Marion widening would spur a residential development on the former Canada Packers site, a 178-acre vacant parcel on the north side of Marion, which is key to the proposed southeast BRT corridor.

"We found out they made this so big to accommodate BRT, and that was never, ever brought to our attention at any of the public consultations," Dupuis said.

Dupuis said the residents association has uncovered evidence there is a plan to construct 600 single-family and multi-family residential units on the former Canada Packers site.

"We have lots to report that hasn’t been put on the table yet," Dupuis said. "We’ve got all the evidence, all the proof, all the research."

Dupuis said the residents association, which formed in April in response to the project, does not believe there is any validity to the city’s reasons for justifying the scope of the project, and they’ll soon be releasing their own alternative designs for improvements to Marion.

"We’ve done all the research and we have a design that doesn’t cost anywhere near this," Dupuis said. "We have three plans to put on the table that are nowhere near this amount of money, nowhere near this destruction."

Improving the Marion and Archibald streets intersection had been a recommendation of the city’s transportation master plan, which initially proposed a scaled-down, $70-million project. The work morphed in cost and scope despite community consultations that opposed the chosen design, but city council endorsed it as the city’s No. 2 priority for road infrastructure while little attention, beyond the immediate neighbourhood, was paid to the actual design.

That changed this week when Allard, who initially promoted the project during a budget debate, said he was withdrawing his support because of community opposition and his own conclusions the proposal was too expensive, the expropriations and property demolitions would cause too much damage to residential neighbourhoods, and the overall design is not appropriate for the area.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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