Proposed Charleswood development brings mixed opinions

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This article was published 02/03/2021 (636 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A group of Charleswood residents is hoping to put the brakes on a proposed multi-family development in the area.

Landmark Planning & Design is leading the planning process, on behalf of Roblin Premiere Developments, for a new multi-family project 4025 Roblin Blvd. The five-acre site is located at the northwest intersection of Roblin Boulevard and the William R. Clement Parkway.

The planners have examined multiple layouts and have conducted three rounds of public consultations, with the most recent held in January.

Supplied image An artist’s rendition of the proposed development at 4025 Roblin Blvd.

They determined the preferred design concept would be one building with 10 storeys along the east of the property line and eight storeys along Roblin Boulevard. The existing Odd Fellows Home on the property would be preserved.

The alternatives included two buildings with lower heights which took up more of the land, especially on the west side of the site.

In total, the proposed development will have 229 units, including the units in the existing Odd Fellows Home, with more than 1.5 parking stalls per unit. There would be a treed buffer between the parkade ramp and the property line.

This design also preserves the forest and green space along McQuaker Drive, the western boundary of the property.

However, some area residents are opposed to the development and the potential impacts on the area. They have launched a Facebook page called Keep Charleswood Beautiful as well as an online petition by the same name on Change.org. So far, the petition has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

Resident Brent Horrill expressed concerns about the potential effect on green space, traffic and density.

“It’s a fight we’re going through. The Landmark people are the lead on the development side, and they’re just doing their job. We’re also just doing our job by saying this type of project does not fit anywhere in Charleswood,” Horrill said.

“The reality is that this is the gateway to Charleswood. You come over the Moray Street bridge and go into Charleswood, and there’s green space on each corner. The city purposely made sure there was lots of green space, water ponds, walking paths.”

If the proposed plan proceeds, Horrill believes the entire esthetic will change.

“What you would see coming south over the bridge on your right side will be this massive 10-storey building and there’s nothing in all of Charleswood that’s 10 storeys high. It does not make sense to put this size and density there,” he said.

“All of a sudden, you’re going to add 200-plus new rental units to this corner. That’s 350 cars that are now going to try to enter and exit at one of the busiest intersections in Charleswood. The difficulty is that when you exit the property, you must make a right-hand turn onto Roblin Boulevard. There’s no other choice. If you want to go south, east or north, you have to pull a U-turn.”

Donovan Toews, senior partner with Landmark Planning & Design, said Landmark works with the community throughout the design process of its projects. He saidthe proposed Charleswood development would be amenity-rich and geared towards residents aged 55 and older.  

“The main thing I’d like to convey is that our city needs seniors’ housing, and Charleswood needs it as well,” he said.

“We’re aware that the form that is being proposed right now is not overly common, but also not unheard of, in Charleswood. We work to try to find a design that addresses people’s concerns.”

A traffic study addressed potential impacts, and preliminary results indicate that the site would function adequately from a traffic engineering perspective. However, certain modifications have been recommended. The City of Winnipeg considers traffic flows in its evaluation of rezoning applications.
Toews also notes that community members expressed a strong desire to keep the trees along the west side of the property.

“One of the biggest pushes was to make sure the building wasn’t close to existing homes on McQuaker and to not touch the trees on the west side,” he said.

“We moved everything over to the east side of the site where it backs onto the forest and onto Bill Clement Parkway, so we were able to keep all the trees that were there. This would reduce shadow impacts too.”

People are often resistant to infill projects in general, he added.

“It’s difficult whether you’re proposing a duplex, a triplex, 100 units or 200 units, mainly because people didn’t expect to see it and they fear the worst,” Toews said.

“We have been patiently trying to get people to look at the bigger picture.”

More information about the proposed project at 4025 Roblin Blvd. is posted on the Landmark Planning & Design website at www.landmarkplanning.ca

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