Much ado without recommendations
Controversial lane closure ends in split vote, no recommendation for standing policy committee
The East Kildonan-Transcona community committee met on Jan. 25, and public hearings were held on a number of proposed projects in northeast Winnipeg.
An amendment to the zoning agreement for the Canterbury Crossing Properties, abutting the CN Railway east of Ravenhurst Street, was approved, allowing for a reduced setback from the rail line from 30 metres to 29, along with a slightly smaller berm than required on 19 lots. City planners supported the application, as reduction was still within allowable range.
At the same time, Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) requested the developers come back with a new application, shifting two lots around so that the main road through that section of the new development would connect to the Perimeter Highway to the east, to allow for eventual phasing out of the at-grade Ravenhurst railway crossing. He also requested that some of the greenspace in the plan be used as a dedicated off-leash dog park.
A two-hour recess took place in the middle of the hearings, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., as both Couns. Wyatt and Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) were required to attend to other city business.
A hearing for subdivision, rezoning, and variance and lane closure applications for 220 Helmsdale Ave. and 755 Henderson Hwy., which had been adjourned after lengthy discussion on Jan. 3, was held. Earlier, Coun. Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) had expressed support of the project, which will see the land at Helmsdale, 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. However, Schreyer was opposed to the public lane closure, which echoed concerns raised by a number of residents who spoke in opposition.
“We don’t want to see our back lane closed,” Matthew Parkinson said. “We want to see it stay open.”
In the end, Schreyer said he could not support the lane closure, and voted to concur with the recommendations of the public service with regard to the subdivision, rezoning, and variances, as well. Schreyer recommended a new application be presented, without a lane closure.
“I’m in favour of everything else,” he said. “But because of (the) nature of dividing the C2 zone into two, that is a separate application.”
“I think they’ve made a mountain out of a molehill,” said Wyatt of the lane closure. He voted against the public service recommendations.
Owing to the tie, with Coun. Browaty still away on other business, the lane closure, subdivision and rezoning were forwarded to the standing policy committee on property and development without recommendation.
“This isn’t over,” Schreyer noted.
A hearing was also held regarding a rezoning and variance application for an acre of land at the southeast corner of Molson Street and Concordia Avenue, from a residential to residential mixed use, to allow for a 70-foot tall commercial/residential building, with a 4,450-square-foot commercial unit and 60 dwelling units. The property was previously rezoned as C2, but the development was not undertaken. City planners recommended approval, subject to plan approval and a height cap of 75 feet.
Councellors expressed concerns over lack of parking with the proposed plan of 77 parking spots. Proponents for the development noted that, within the zoning, the main floor could house commercial amenities that would primarily service the residents, which would not significantly increase the demand for parking on site. Using part of the main floor as a common area was also discussed. No members of the public were registered in support or opposition. The applications were approved.
“This is an excellent area for this kind of development,” Schreyer noted in support.
A number of plan approvals along Regent Avenue West were laid over until the February meeting, with Wyatt citing concerns around loss of parking and inadequate landscaping. The plans include a new Scotiabank in the parking lot at Kildonan Place (1555 Regent Ave. W) and a major renovation/expansion of the Canadian Tire at 1519 Regent Ave. W.
“I welcome the expansion, I think it’s excellent,” Wyatt said. “But I have an issue with the landscaping.”
Plans for two three-storey townhomes, 19 units combined, were approved for 1454 Ravelston Ave. W. by Schreyer and Browaty, with Wyatt recusing himself from the vote owing to a conflict of interest.
Per capita grants for the Afro-Caribbean Association of Manitoba Inc. ($500) and the Elmwood Winter Fun Day ($1,500) were approved from the Elmwood-East Kildonan ward.
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 email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112