The sale of a riverbank lot in Riverview failed to pass at the city’s property, planning, heritage and downtown development meeting on May 11, with the issue moving on to city council by default.
The sale was supported by the city's executive policy committee on May 18, with a vote of 4 to 3, which pushes the matter to city council on May 27.
The planning committee reviewed the proposal to have the site at 409 Mulvey Ave. — which was declared as surplus by the city in 2014 — divided into two lots, with the sale of lot one to Albatross Developments for $1.5 million. Lot two, which is located adjacent to the Red River, would be retained as park space, including the south Winnipeg active transportation pathway.
Three different motions were made regarding the sale of lot one, but each failed in a tie vote, triggering the move to city council, which will need two-thirds of councillors to vote in favour for the sale to proceed.
Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West) moved to reject the sale of lot one, arguing that affordable housing could be built elsewhere, and that this was an opportunity to create more greenspace. "This is a case of greenspace versus development. I’m not willing to sell off riverbank," she said.
The proposal would have seen lot one sold to Albatross Developments, which proposes to build an 80-unit apartment building on the site, with 25 per cent of the units dedicated to affordable housing. The building would also contain a local craft brewery, and include a ride share component and outdoor bike storage.
Coun. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas) moved the sale proceed, but changed the condition the net proceeds of the sale not go to the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, as per the city administration’s report, but rather to the city’s land dedication reserve fund. "This is an opportunity for affordable housing beside a riverbank," she said.
A tie vote caused the motion to fail, as did a motion by Coun. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) to lay over the issue for a month while seeking further clarification on what the sale proceeds were originally intended for.
"I’d like to allow the fire department a chance to address this," Klein said. "I don’t think we have enough information to resolve this today."
According to the city administration report, net proceeds of disposition would be transferred from the Land Operating Reserve Fund to the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Expropriation Account to fund due compensation and other costs related to the expropriation of 1780 Taylor Ave., where fire station No. 12 is now located.
While speaking as a delegate to the meeting, Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) suggested the proceeds of the sale of lot one should be shared between the city’s land dedication fund, with 25 per cent going to the City Centre community committee for its use.
Rollins also spoke to the importance of maintaining green space along the river bank. "This node is part of the Churchill riverbank pathway," she said. "While lot one is currently a gravel parking area, retaining lot two would ensure the viability of the path along the Red River bank. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you can never get back parkland."
Corydon resident Shirley Forsyth also spoke to the committee about the importance of retaining greenspace along the riverbank. "Climate change is making it important to have active transportation routes like this in Winnipeg," she said. "This park space is close to the Osborne Transit station and is also used by the community as a riverside park."
After the meeting, Forsyth said the Donald Riverside Park is the largest parkland in the Corydon Osborne area. "It is a riverside park that could never be replaced," she said. "In total, it is 5.11 hectares and has 1,258 m of trails on it."