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EPC backs sale of Vimy site to addictions recovery foundation

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>The old Vimy Arena</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The old Vimy Arena

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/1/2018 (247 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Scott Oake and his family left Winnipeg city hall Wednesday with the realization they have only one more hurdle to cross in a bid for approval to construct an addictions recovery centre on the banks of Sturgeon Creek.

Mayor Brian Bowman and members of his executive policy committee voted unanimously to endorse the $1-sale of the shuttered Vimy Arena and its parking lot to Manitoba Housing, which plans to lease the site to the Oake family foundation.

“I’m very pleased,” said Oake, a prominent national television sportscaster. “We were hopeful it would be approved.”

The vote followed a day-long meeting in council chambers where 15 residents of the Crestview neighbourhood waited hours to speak about the issue – most of them opposed to the sale.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/1/2018 (247 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Scott Oake and his family left Winnipeg city hall Wednesday with the realization they have only one more hurdle to cross in a bid for approval to construct an addictions recovery centre on the banks of Sturgeon Creek.

Mayor Brian Bowman and members of his executive policy committee voted unanimously to endorse the $1-sale of the shuttered Vimy Arena and its parking lot to Manitoba Housing, which plans to lease the site to the Oake family foundation.

"I’m very pleased," said Oake, a prominent national television sportscaster. "We were hopeful it would be approved."

The vote followed a day-long meeting in council chambers where 15 residents of the Crestview neighbourhood waited hours to speak about the issue – most of them opposed to the sale.

The events of Wednesday echoed what transpired in the same chamber more than a week ago, when members of the city's property and development committee voted 3-1 in favour of the sale.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Mayor Brian Bowman and members of the EPC listen to Scott Oake as he talks about his request to purchase and build the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre on the site of the old Vimy arena.</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mayor Brian Bowman and members of the EPC listen to Scott Oake as he talks about his request to purchase and build the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre on the site of the old Vimy arena.

Oake said he realizes he needs a minimum of 11 votes on the 16-member council to approve the sale at its meeting next week, but added he’s confident it will happen.

"We hope we’ll get them," he said. "Today is a very positive indication."

Oake wants to build a $14-million, 50-bed, long-term addictions facility for men in memory of his son, Bruce, who died from a drug overdose at the age of 25 in March 2011. The Oakes have partnered with a Calgary organization, which operates a similar recovery centre in the Alberta city.

Addicts would be treated at no cost, with all expenses covered by the foundation set up in Bruce Oake's name.

Scott Oake said he’ll begin a public fundraising campaign in earnest once the property has been sold and later rezoned, which will require another public hearing.

Oake had approached the city and the provincial government more than a year ago with the proposal and, after the province reached out to city hall, the old Vimy Arena property was offered.

The land outlined in yellow will be sold for $1 to Manitoba Housing, which in turn will lease the property to the Bruce Oake Foundation for the establishment of the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre. (City of Winnipeg) </p>

The land outlined in yellow will be sold for $1 to Manitoba Housing, which in turn will lease the property to the Bruce Oake Foundation for the establishment of the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre. (City of Winnipeg)

The arena was closed in 2015, after being declared surplus in 2013, with the intent proceeds from its sale be reinvested in recreational facilities in the area.

However, the arena was never put up for sale. While the civic administration said an independent appraisal recently determined the 2.5-acre site is worth $1.43 million, Manitoba Housing offered $1. The property and development committee approved the $1 sale.

The deal goes to council for a vote Jan. 25.

While the Oake family has support for the project from across the city, more than 1,000 area residents opposed the project – some out of concern for property values, while others said the city should not give away the community’s valuable recreation land.

The terms of the deal with Manitoba Housing were amended at Wednesday’s meeting by Coun. Scott Gillingham, who tied the sale to a requirement the Oake family foundation complete construction of the treatment centre within four years of the sale being finalized.

In addition, Gillingham proposed council consider allocating $1.4 million of the 2019 budget into recreational needs for the area. Gillingham later acknowledged there is no guarantee the next council – there is civic election in October – will set aside those funds.

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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History

Updated on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 5:27 PM CST: Adds photos

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