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This article was published 10/1/2019 (281 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Some last-minute adjustments to the proposed Kenaston Boulevard/Route 90 expansion could result in fewer homes being expropriated for the project.
Coun. John Orlikow said he’s asked planners alter the route of the widened roadway, shifting a portion south of the Assiniboine River slightly to the west by acquiring a portion of the Manitoba Youth Centre property.
Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) said it would result in fewer homes on the east side of Kenaston being expropriated by the City of Winnipeg, and would allow for more buffering for that section of the River Heights neighbourhood.
The move was first raised by Orlikow in September. He said the city planning, property and development department has agreed to consider the request.
"Would there be much savings in expropriations? We don’t know at this point," Orlikow said, adding the youth detention centre is provincially-owned and thus its land can’t be expropriated. The province would have to give up the property, then reach an agreed price for it with the city.
Justice Minister Cliff Cullen told the Free Press the provincial government is supportive of minimizing the impact of expropriations on residents by shifting the proposed route, but added there yet has been no such request made.
"When the city comes forward with a formal request, we would consider it at that time," Cullen said in an email Thursday. "At this point, it would be premature to comment as there would need to be many steps taken before the province could enter into any agreement on that property."
Orlikow said city officials are considering three options for MYC land, one of which would involve some of the cottages on the property.
Cullen said any reduction would have to be measured against the impact on the detainment facility.
"We respect and value everything that our juvenile counsellors do at the Manitoba Youth Centre to manage the youth custody population and keep Manitobans safe," Cullen said. "As such, we will not consider any proposals that may put public safety at risk, and as any discussions unfold, we will keep our front-line staff informed along the way."
The city plans to widen Kenaston to six lanes from four, and widen the St. James bridges. The most recent cost estimate for the project was $450 million, however, city officials said the figure will likely change depending on final designs.
The project has not been approved by city council and no funding has been identified.
Consulting firm WSP Canada was hired in September 2017 on a $2.6-million contract to design a complete revamp of the roadway, from Taylor to Ness avenues, building on plans it had presented during a series of open houses in 2009 and 2010.
Civic reports estimated the project will require the acquisition through purchase or expropriation of 136 properties — including 94 single-family homes — the majority of which are owned by the Department of Defence.
WSP Canada was required to prepare a final design and a more accurate cost estimate by the end of February. A report with recommendations is expected to go to council in the spring.
The city’s manager for the widening project had told the Free Press acquiring private property along Kenaston is expected to take 18 to 24 months. Construction, if approved, is expected to last three to four years.
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.