Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/6/2011 (3303 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A group of landowners and the City of Winnipeg are creating a blueprint to develop a sprawling 800-acre parcel of largely vacant land in south Charleswood that could see up to 4,000 new homes.
More than 500 residents crammed into a June 20 open house at Charleswood United Church to raise concerns about a major city developer’s role in the plan to develop Ridgewood South, loss of greenspace, and urban sprawl.
It was a first step towards creating a city-mandated precinct plan for the area. The plan will include policies outlining infrastructure and recreation needs, how land can be used, and natural spaces to preserve.
"We’re not planning a development, we’re planning what if a development were to happen," said Donovan Toews of Landmark Planning and Design, the consulting firm acting on behalf of the 332 landowners that comprise Ridgewood South.
"It creates the structure so…if council adopts the plan, any of those landowners can say ‘I want to subdivide and develop my land,’ which has to be in conjunction to how this plan will be laid out."
It’ll likely be several years before any sort of development happens. The plan is expected to be complete by fall 2012 and will need city council approval.
Ridgewood South is bordered by the Perimeter Highway to the west, Rannock, Ridgewood and Eldridge avenues to the north, and Wilkes Avenue to the south.
It is one of 18 new communities on the outskirts of the city identified for potential development by the city. It’s been slated for development since 1981, according to the city.
Dirk Hoeppner, 30, who grew up in Charleswood, opposes the plan and said new suburbs unsustainable.
"Charleswood has a strange dichotomy because it was designed in such a way that you are exposed to nature and at the same rate is irresponsible because it is now a suburb," he said.
"I can’t go back and unmake Charleswood, but we need to preserve it for what it is and work…to dismantle our suburbs and build inwards as opposed to outwards."
Elridge residents Garth Gerwing and Laura Huebert echoed Hoeppner’s comment, noting they were concerned about Qualico’s influence on the process. Qualico owns more than 50% of the land in the area.
Still, they’re reserving judgment on the plan until draft policies are presented back to the community.
"I think it’s good to be developing a long-term plan and consultation is really important," Huebert said.
The city expects to grow by 180,000 people by 2031, requiring 80,000 new housing units, said city planner David Marsh.
"That growth can’t just be concentrated in one area. It has to happen in most parts in the city," said Marsh, a Charleswood resident.
If developed, the land will primarily be single-family homes. At roughly five units an acre, according to Toews’ math, that could mean as many as 4,000 homes.
Meanwhile, other residents are concerned new developments may eat up community greenspace and threaten at-risk species.
But Lorne Sharfe, a Tuxedo resident who owns about 70 acres in Ridgewood South, believes the neo-rural charm of Charleswood can be replicated.
He’d like to see the land developed and frontages of properties allocated as park space to create park-like atmosphere.
"I always thought Charleswood had the potential to grow and be a great place to live," he said. "We can carry on Bill Clement’s idea of a nature land."
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