WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg city councillor wants to see infill guidelines changed and updated after a city endorsed project was rejected at a committee meeting.
Ventura Developments wants to build a four-storey, 12-unit condominium building at the southeast corner of McMillan Avenue and Harrow Street. The vacant lot used to house a pair of derelict bungalows.
“It’s the perfect exemplification of infill housing,” said Ventura’s Vice President of development Tim Comack. “Infill is very important to the city and as our city continues to grow we need to learn to grow up as well as out.”
City planners and developers unanimously approved it.
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But at the last city centre community committee meeting, councillors John Orlikow, Jenny Gerbasi and Cindy Gilroy voted against the $6.5 million project.
Orlikow, who happens to be both the area councillor and city council’s property chair, said he was not in favour of amalgamating the two lots.
“I believe it’s a bad precedent-setting for the neighbourhood and I believe it’s encroaching down the block by doing that,” Orlikow stated in a report.
But Comack said his group followed the guidelines to make sure the project fit precisely to the city’s infill-development guidelines. The current guidelines identify corner lots on collector streets (such as the proposed location) as ideal locations for similar projects.
“We have an application that’s endorsed by the planning department and signed off by the neighbour,” said Comack. “We are living in a city where taxes are going up year-over-year. We need to find these efficient sites that create a greater tax base.”
Other city councillors ,who support the project, believe better infill guidelines need to be put in place. Ones that not only help ensure viable projects move forward but make sure decisions are made in the best interest of the city and not just one neighbourhood.
“I’ve seen this happen over the years,” said councillor Janice Lukes. “We need better guiding documents to help make these decisions and until we get that, we are going to have interesting decisions made all the time.”
The St. Norbert councillor said infill is important in helping the city grow and become more efficient.
“It saves taxpayers money. It is more cost effective to deliver services overall when we have density,” she said. “This one unit is assessed at $6.5 million. The city services required to service six and seven houses cost the city more. Units like this, density, reduces the cost of services for everyone overall.”
Lukes said she will be putting forward a motion to see guidelines changed when it comes to infill homes.
“If we had an infill guideline with more policy, with more direction, we could say this is how we are wanting to grow our city, ppl would be aware of it they would understand what to expect in their neighbourhood
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