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This article was published 17/9/2018 (397 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A judge will decide whether a contentious plan for a high density transit oriented development in the Parker lands will go to a public hearing at City Hall.
Gem Equities, owner of 47 acres in the Parker lands, submitted an application to the Court of Queen’s Bench to compel the City of Winnipeg’s City Centre community committee to consider development applications at a public meeting on Nov. 13.
Dave Hill, the lawyer representing Gem Equities in court, said hearings concluded on Sept. 10 and Justice Candace Grammond reserved her decision to a later date.
Earlier this month, the standing policy committee on property, development, heritage and downtown development unanimously rejected an application by Gem Equities to give a first reading of its secondary plan for the 133 acres east of Waverley Street and south of the CN Letellier rail line, encompassing the future bus rapid transit corridor. The secondary plan outlines how development will occur on the land based on the City’s OurWinnpeg and Complete Communities policies.
Gem Equities is planning to build a mixed-use residential development along the future bus rapid transit corridor that will have about 1,900 units when complete. About two acres are set aside for small pocket parks and community park space.
John Kiernan, the City’s director of planning, property, and development, told the committee the secondary plan contained a number of issues that needed to be resolved before the department could support the plan.
"The department and the public service at this time see a substantial number of required changes before we would be comfortable with recommending that this plan move to first reading," Kiernan said. "We’re not saying that the (proponent) be rejected but that we work with the applicant to be able to amend the plan to address issues and concerns."
According to the administrative report, the plan was criticized because it lacks clear direction on how development should occur, applies an "incorrect (transit oriented development) type" in the plan area, lacks detail to evaluate future proposals, permits industrial and high density residential use, and does not protect a clearly defined portion of the remaining forest on site.
The committee concurred in the public service’s recommendation to allow the developer to amend the plan, in consultation with the public works department, without having to submit a new application and pay the associated fees.
Andrew Marquess, owner of Gem Equities, and consultants working on the project did not appear at the Sept. 4 meeting, citing the court proceedings that were ongoing at the time.
Marquess declined to offer a comment on the committee’s decision or say whether Gem would cooperate with the department to make changes, and referred to a media statement issued prior to the meeting.
The statement said affidavits being considered by the court suggest city administration has been secretive, uncommunicative and non-consultative on the Parker land proposal and that the administrative report is "filled with exaggerations and inaccuracies and casts aspersions on the well-respected multi-disciplinary team of professionals from across Canada working on this project."
Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester
Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org