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This article was published 4/3/2019 (328 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A plan to crackdown on developers and builders who breach agreements with Winnipeg city hall has been put on hold.
Councillors on the property and development committee Monday directed planning department staff to consult with the development and homebuilding industry before they bring back a set of recommendations on how to enact the get-tough policy.
Coun. Brian Mayes, chairman of the committee, said the report seems to have unfairly targeted the homebuilding industry, when the complaints have involved mostly commercial property developers and the occasional infill housing builder.
"I not sure we need to sweep in single-family homebuilders, whether it’s infill or out in the suburbs," Mayes said.
An administrative report by Stan Dueck, the planning department’s manager of development and inspections, said the breaches of the terms of development agreements have been occurring on a more frequent basis and it’s almost impossible to impose corrective measures.
Dueck told the committee other municipalities have implemented a series of corrective measures to deal with similar problems and wanted the councillors’ approval to do something similar.
Some of the corrective measures suggested included a requirement for deposits from builders and developers equal to or greater than the value of "construction of landscaping and site elements," and to tie the issuance of occupancy and other permits to the completion of the agreements.
However, councillors expressed concern that, despite the report, Dueck had not documented the breaches he was complaining about nor who was doing them.
Dueck said the report was initiated at the request of council members, explaining while the breaches of the development agreement occur regularly, he doesn’t have the staff to track them.
A revised report for the committee’s consideration is expected in four months.
Lanny McInnes, president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association, told the committee the report and its recommendations had caught the industry by surprise, adding the city should have talked to industry representatives before suggesting those type of measures.
McInnes told the Free Press he is pleased with the committee’s decision, and looks forward to consultations with city hall on the issue.
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.