Mayor Sam Katz will look into a snap decision to scrap work on development guidelines for the Corydon neighbourhood that has left some politicians and urban planners scratching their heads.

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John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
Council�s property committee voted Tuesday to scrap work on secondary plans for the Corydon neighbourhood.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press Council�s property committee voted Tuesday to scrap work on secondary plans for the Corydon neighbourhood.

Mayor Sam Katz will look into a snap decision to scrap work on development guidelines for the Corydon neighbourhood that has left some politicians and urban planners scratching their heads.

Without prior notice, Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) introduced a motion at council's property committee Tuesday that called on the city to terminate work on secondary plans for the Corydon neighbourhood. Wyatt said the move is in light of concerns raised by business owners who allege the plan will restrict development and close area restaurants.

Last week, the Corydon Avenue BIZ and several business owners sent a letter to Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) and other city officials, calling the process a "stop-growth plan." They asked the city to "terminate" the process and hire a third-party consultant to start work on new neighbourhood plans.

Wyatt and other members of council's property committee, including chairman Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) and Coun. Grant Nordman (St. Charles), voted in favour of the scrapping the current secondary-plan process. Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) voted against it.

Katz said he has been inundated with phone calls from area residents and business owners over the decision. He said he will speak with councillors, residents and business owners to get the facts.

Council's executive policy committee will review the decision next week. It still has to be approved by EPC and city council.

"Everyone has called me. I've spoken with residents, I've spoken with business people," Katz said, following Wednesday morning's EPC meeting. "The one thing I can say to you is obviously there is a problem and it's got to be fixed."

The Corydon-Osborne area is expected to grow due to the introduction of rapid transit. The city started to draft secondary plans as a tool to help mediate conflict over new infill or business developments. Other city neighbourhoods have secondary plans to guide development, including Transcona West, the Henderson Highway corridor, Waverley West, Osborne Village, West Alexander and Centennial.

Pagtakhan said secondary plans are usually contentious, as every neighbourhood has idiosyncrasies and concerns. The idea, he said, is to strike a balance between residents and businesses. Pagtakhan said the committee didn't have to terminate work on the plans, as both Gerbasi and city property director Barry Thorgrimson expressed a willingness to collaborate with business owners.

Pagtakhan said the move could divide the community and is a "slap in the face" to the work that's been done.

"The work's been done. Why do you want to throw all of that away?" he said. "We can't just develop helter-skelter. There's got to be some development order that's not overly restrictive."

University of Manitoba city planning Prof. Christopher Leo said it's important to guide development in neighbourhoods such as Corydon. For example, Leo said, too many liquor licences and patios could hurt the neighbourhood instead of attracting more types of development.

He said this has occurred in parts of New York, and Winnipeg needs to make sure Corydon doesn't "undermine itself."

"That's been the issue in the past is they want to have more and more liquor licences and more and more patios," Leo said. "You could end up with a really raucous street scene that will drive people away."

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca