JULY 2009 -- City swapped 59 acres of vacant, undeveloped lands -- west of Pembina Highway between the CNR Rivers Main Line and Parker Avenue -- to Gem Equities, controlled by developer Andrew Marquess, for nine acres of the former Fort Rouge Yards. Both parcels are valued at $1 million each.
Why: The city needed some of that nine acres for the first phase of the Southwest Transitway.
The deal includes a provision the city would be allowed to buy back any of the Parker lands needed for a road extension or the BRT corridor, at a price of $17,000 per acre.***
Of the nine acres the city bought for the transitway, 3.8 acres weren't needed and later sold for $1.3 million.****
MAY 2010 -- A conceptual study completed (but never released publicly), looking at options for relief to basement flooding in the Taylor and Earl Grey neighbourhoods (known formally as the Cockburn and Calrossie sewer districts).
JUNE 2011 -- Newly appointed CAO Phil Sheegl approves engineering consultant to begin work on preliminary and detailed design, identifying conceptual design options for basement-flooding solutions in the Taylor and Earl Grey neighbourhoods.
AUGUST 2012 -- Several preliminary design options for basement-flooding solutions were completed (never released publicly) but no one design singled out as the preferred option.
SEPTEMBER 2013 -- Terms of City of Winnipeg's Environmental Act Licence stipulates any new development in a combined sewer area shall not increase the frequency or overflow of the volume of water overflows in combined sewers for new or upgraded developments.
DECEMBER 2013 -- Water and waste department requests planning, property and development department to begin negotiations with Gem Equities for the acquisition of property in the Parker lands needed for the construction of a deep-water retention pond, "based on the preliminary design of the selected project option."
An administrative report says Marquess has been contacted several times, but he is reluctant to sell the lands needed for the retention pond as he plans to develop the property. Negotiations remain in progress but "it is unlikely that a mutually acceptable agreement will be reached in a timely fashion."
FEBRUARY 2015 -- Civic administration requests approval for expropriation process for 20 acres of the Parker lands for a giant, deep-water retention pond and 4.4 acres for the BRT corridor. "It would be in the city's best interest to initiate expropriation proceedings immediately to ensure that the needed lands are acquired in sufficient time to allow for the development of the retention pond to begin as soon as possible."
The 2009 buy-back provision does not apply to the 20 acres needed for the retention pond, which will have to be expropriated if a sale can't be reached.
**From the administrative report to the Feb. 17, 2015 special meeting of the property and development committee.
***From the in-camera report to the July 13, 2009 meeting of the property and development committee.
****June 9, 2014 City of Winnipeg Real Estate Management Review