Residential development proposed for Winnipeg’s Polo Park rejected by EPC vote

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee rejects major Polo Park development plan'
Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee rejects major Polo Park development plan
By the narrowest of margins, Winnipeg's Executive Policy Committee rejected a plan which would have seen a variety of high and low-rise mixed-use buildings go up around the Polo Park shopping centre and former stadium. Global's Amber McGuckin has the details – Apr 28, 2020

A multi-million-dollar development proposed for the Polo Park has been rejected by members of the mayor’s executive policy committee.

Shindico Development and Cadillac Fairview, the owner of Polo Park Shopping Centre, want to team up to build a sprawling series of highrise and low-rise commercial and residential buildings near the mall.

READ MORE: Residential development proposed for Polo Park area

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But the plan needs council to approve amendments to the area’s bylaw and on Tuesday the mayor’s executive policy committee (EPC) voted 4-3 against the idea.

Under the bylaw, residential construction is prohibited around the Polo Park mall site by a set of rules under the Airport Vicinity Protection Area Secondary Plan (AVPA). The purpose of the AVPA is to “protect the 24-hour air operations of the airport by limiting residential noise complaints.”

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Click to play video: 'Noise rules need to be rewritten before Polo Park development: Winnipeg Airports Authority'
Noise rules need to be rewritten before Polo Park development: Winnipeg Airports Authority

The Winnipeg Airports Authority opposes the plan, arguing allowing more residential construction in the area would impact its ability to do business and increase potential noise complaints if it expands.

WAA CEO Barry Rempel has said he worries the development could put an end to the 24-hour operations of Richardson International Airport if improperly planned.

The WAA wants to add a third runway to expand the lucrative freight sector sometime in the future, and Rempel said the proposed development would see planes fly 300 metres above new residents’ heads.

The proposed amendments will now go to a vote at council as a whole, but will be sent with a recommendation to reject from EPC.

Click to play video: 'Both sides in Polo Park development fight release new info before council hearing'
Both sides in Polo Park development fight release new info before council hearing

Shindico’s lawyer Justin Zarnowski said the company remains confident.

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“Ultimately the science says we can have both — we can have this development and we can have the 24-hour airport. That’s what we want,” he said when reached by Global News after the meeting.

“We are confident still that the facts will prevail over the misinformation the airport is spreading.”

READ MORE: Polo Park development vote ends in stalemate at Winnipeg property and development committee

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Tyler McAfee, a spokesperson for the WAA said the airport doesn’t want to see the AVPA weakened.

“We fully support new residential development in the city and new residential development in St. James but it needs to be done with a plan, it can’t just be done in a piecemeal approach,” he said.

“Because it erodes the protection and we are going to jeopardize the future of the airport and that economic engine for the city for these short term decisions.”

The proposed amendments were originally approved by the Assiniboia community committee earlier this year, despite a recommendation from the city’s public service that the proposal be quashed.

The plan then got a mixed response from councillors on the city property and development committee earlier this month, who voted in a 2-2 tie.

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The plan was then sent to EPC’s Tuesday meeting without recommendation from property and development.

At Tuesday’s EPV meeting Mayor Brian Bowman voted for the amendments, along with Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) and Coun. Scott Gillingham (St. James).

Councillors Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre), Brian Mayes (St. Vital), John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry), and Matt Allard (St. Boniface) voted against.

Shindico Development president and CEO Sandy Shindleman has previously told Global News the planned construction would see apartment buildings around the perimeter of the mall, parking structures, office spaces and possibly assisted-living units for seniors.

READ MORE: Battle over Polo Park development clears first hurdle at Winnipeg City Hall

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The developers are looking to not just revamp the area, he said, but also to re-imagine the possibilities of the 80-acre parcel of land around Polo Park, from the north side of Portage Avenue, along St. Matthews Avenue and St. James Street and the west side of Empress Street.

–With files from Amber McGuckin

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg developers fighting to revamp Polo Park amid battle with airport'
Winnipeg developers fighting to revamp Polo Park amid battle with airport

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