Committee back at it for new year

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The East Kildonan-Transcona community committee met for the first time this year on Jan. 3.

Plans were approved for a new facade and signage to the strip mall at 1128 Henderson Hwy.

“It’s encouraging to see a number of commercial establishments on Henderson invest in their facades and properties recently,” Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said. “This continues that trend.”

A lane closure, subdivision, rezoning, and variance hearing was held on Jan. 3 for the properties at 755 Henderson Hwy. and 220 Helmsdale Ave. After much discussion, the hearing was adjourned until Jan. 25.

A new free-standing sign was also approved for 1475 Molson Ave.

Two items regarding plans for buildings in the Kildonan Place were held over until Jan. 25, regarding questions from councillors about landscaping and traffic flow. A new Scotiabank building, which could be the first “net zero” Scotiabank building in Canada, as well as new landscaping surrounding the existing Mastermind Toys location, will be further discussed at the next meeting.

Browaty also requested a report from the public service on adding a protected left-turn arrow to the southbound lane on Gateway Road at McLeod Avenue.

During the public hearings, a subdivision, rezoning, variance, and lane closure application for 220 Helmsdale Ave. and 755 Henderson Hwy. was discussed. The application would see the land at Helmsdale, which was formerly home to St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, be turned into a 21-stall surface parking lot for the existing Henderson Business Centre, while adding four single-family lots.

The public service recommended against the application for development based on adding surface parking and extending the C2 zoning further down Helmsdale. However, an earlier pre-application for a multifamily site on the property had been approved by the city, though there were concerns regarding density and servicing of the site. The business centre has identified lack of parking as part of the reason the centre is experiencing approximately 20 per cent vacancy. Based on stakeholder feedback, the new application was put forward.

Proponents spoke to the increase in housing, as well as making the business centre more economically viable. Two residents spoke in opposition to the project, in particular the closure of the public lane, with one presenting a petition with 36 signatures. Another was registered in opposition, but chose not to speak.

The property owner agreed to look into solutions regarding the lane closure. The city suggested conditions for approval included plan approval by the committee, a setback of 25 feet abutting the R1 property on vacant lot, to ensure a new commercial building could not be built on the property, with the variance tied to rezoning, as well as an arborist report as the site is home to a number of mature trees.

Coun. Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) expressed concerns regarding the lane closure.

“I have no (other) problem with the application, (but) how can you keep the lane open while selling it off?” Schreyer said. “I don’t understand that.”

“I don’t see the point in politicizing the issue, as Coun. Schreyer is,” Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) said. “We’ve closed and sold roads plenty of times.”

After much discussion, the committee adjourned the hearing to Jan. 25.

The demolition for a vacant house at 387 Nairn Ave. was approved, with understanding that the owner would consolidate the properties before starting work on expanding the existing parking lot. The owner also committed to adding landscaping along Nairn.

Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
Community Journalist

Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at sheldon.birnie@canstarnews.com Call him at 204-697-7112

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