We held two public open houses: on July 29 and September 23, 2010. Each one was well attended and we were very pleased with the range of opinions and suggestions we received.
At each we asked participants to fill out questionnaires summarizing their feelings about the new development. The survey gave participants the chance to write down any particular concerns they might have.
We’ve addressed the most commonly asked questions below.
We have also posted the full Area Master Plan that was presented to the City of Winnipeg and was subject of a public hearing at City Hall on November 23, 2010:
- What is the site zoned now?
- What is the value of the proposed development?
- What kind of housing are you planning?
- Will the units be for rent or for sale?
- What will the price of the units be?
- Why build mid to high density housing?
- How many people will the development house?
- Is this too much density for the existing neighbourhood?
- Will this be a gated community?
- Will any of the buildings be seniors housing?
- Will any of the units be public housing?
- What will the buildings look like?
- How can I buy one of the new units?
- How will this development affect traffic in the area?
- How will this development affect parking in the area?
- What will it mean for parks, community centres, etc.?
- What will it mean for area schools?
- Will this development lead to increased crime in the area?
- How will this development increase the amount of greenspace in the area?
- Why don’t you convert part or all of the property to open greenspace or to a dog park?
- Why is residential development the best option for the land?
- What will happen to property taxes and land values?
- Will the site feature any commercial or retail spaces?
- How will the development impact water and sewage services in the area?
- Will the development have road access to Pembina Highway?
- What about pedestrian access to Pembina Highway?
- What steps will you take to minimize noise during construction?
The developer expects to invest approximately $200 million in building the new residential development. This is one of the most significant private investments into Winnipeg in years, and the first major investment in a high quality, transit-oriented development in the city’s history.
We’re planning to fill most of the site with approximately 400 high quality, stylish three-bedroom townhouses. They’ll be one to three storeys tall and will be marketed to middle-income families. Most of the units will be for sale, but the developer will continue to manage some as rental units.
(UPDATE, Sept. 24, 2010: As we reported at our September 23, 2010 open house, we now project all of the townhouse units will be sold. UPDATE, Nov. 25, 2010: Please click here to see our revised master plans.)
Our market research shows us there is a shortage of quality housing on the market for middle-income families.
Additionally, we’re planning some mid- and high-rise buildings close to proposed transit stations at Morley and Jubilee avenues to hold approximately 500 residences. These buildings will be predominantly filled with 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and condominiums marketed to urban professionals and seniors. Selling prices and monthly rents in these buildings have not yet been determined.
The exact placement and height of the high rise buildings is contingent on the results of a traffic study, shadow studies and public meetings.
(UPDATE, Sept. 24, 2010: As we reported at our September 23, 2010 open house, we are proposing to build two high rises that will have a maximum of 21 storeys. They will be set well back from Argue Street. Shadow studies in our Area Master Plan (posted Nov. 25, 2010) show the shadows should not reach the existing neighbourhood.)
In total, we expect to build approximately 900 units on the proposed site (updated August, 2010).
(UPDATE, Sept. 24, 2010: we’re now projecting that ALL of the townhouses be for sale. Expected prices to start below $300,000. This change is a result of public feedback that told us area residents preferred owner-occupied residences over rentals. We still plan on having a portion of the high rise apartments for rent.)
The developer expects to manage all rental units employing strict criteria when evaluating renters. We are planning to invest nearly $200 million in this development and have a long-term stake to ensure it is well maintained and that it complements or improves the surrounding areas.
We are not planning to include any public housing as part of this development.
This particular area of land makes development challenging. In-fill development like this is more expensive than ‘greenfield’ suburban development. It is only economically feasible if it has higher density housing.
Additionally, the City of Winnipeg’s long term plans (“Our Winnipeg”) encourage residential development close to its new rapid transit corridor. The best examples of this kind of transit-oriented development from around the world feature mid and high density housing close to rapid transit stations.
We’re planning approximately 400 three-bedroom townhouse units and about 500 mid and high rise units. This would bring hundreds of new families to the area, invigorating schools, community centres, parks and businesses.
New developments like this tend to increase the property values of adjacent heritage areas. They also tend to bring new investment in infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, schools, community centres and public spaces.
(UPDATE, Sept. 24, 2010: we estimate the development will bring approximately 1,800 new people to the area. Interestingly, that will basically restore the area’s population to pre-1971 levels. According to census documents, the Lord Roberts neighbourhood – not including Riverview – has just under 5,000 residents now, which is about 1,600 less than it was 40 years ago.)
The proposed development will add approximately 900 new units to the Lord Roberts and Riverview area, which currently has approximately 3,100 residences. (UPDATE, Sept. 24, 2010: we estimate the development will bring about 1,800 new people to the area). Planners and traffic experts say that number should be easily accommodated by existing roads, sewers, schools and parks.
It’s worth noting too that schools and community centres in the area are in need of more students, more enrollment and more volunteers. Lord Roberts School, for example, was built to handle about 497 students (updated, Sept. 24, 2010, according to Winnipeg School Division information), but now has only about 300. The new development will help resolve that problem. Higher enrollment will help ensure the school qualifies for additional resources, teachers, etc. and will go a long way to ensuring it will serve the neighbourhood for a long time to come.
(UPDATE, Sept. 24, 2010: We note that Lord Roberts School lost its librarian last year due to declining enrolment. Having more students will help ensure quality programming continues to be offered at the school.)
No. On the contrary, we plan to integrate the new housing into the existing community. We’ll be sharing historical street names, fronting our units onto existing and extended streets, and integrating greenspaces and walking paths.
The mid to high rise buildings will be marketed to seniors and urban professionals. Our market research indicates there is strong demand from both groups for housing that gives them easy access to transit, downtown, good parks and shopping.
We have also heard from local residents that there is growing demand for seniors housing in a neighbourhood that has historically kept extended families close to one another.
We will post designs and suite layouts on our website once they’re available.
We’re also discussing various options to handle increased traffic and parking with the city and the neighbourhood. Those options will be brought forward to the public for comment during our planning process.
The developer is just as interested as local residents in handling increased traffic well, both to ease neighbourhood concerns and to help ensure the success of the new development.
(UPDATE, Jan. 18, 2012: Here is a link to our traffic study. It indicates that the overall increase in traffic will not overload any of the streets. We do continue to respect residents’ concerns on traffic, however, and are continuing to consider a variety of traffic calming measures in cooperation with the neighbourhood and the City of Winnipeg.)
Initial plans call for the development to include between one and two parking spots for every new residential unit built, so the new residents should have little to no impact on existing parking capacity in the neighbourhood.
(UPDATE, September 24, 2010: Our plans call for us to create approximately 1.5 parking stalls per unit. That is more than required and generous compared to many similar developments. Additionally, we’re planning on creating 115 new on-street parking spots on Argue St. to accommodate visitors and the existing community. Please refer to our Area Master Plan (posted Nov. 25, 2010).)
In addition to funding the construction of the new residences, the developer also plans to provide financial resources to upgrade and beautify existing neighbourhood amenities. That could include improvements to parks, schools, community centres, public gardens, etc.
New families in the area will mean more people using those amenities. Populated, well-used public spaces tend to be very safe because criminals prefer places where they can go unnoticed.
(UPDATE, September 24, 2010: We’ve announced our intention to create a $500,000 community development fund paid for by developer contributions. See our newsletter for more. This fund would be administered by an independent board drawn from the community. The money will be intended to be help pay for improvements to community amenities such as parks, schools, community centres, gardens, etc.)
UPDATED, November 25, 2010: Winnipeg School Division has confirmed Lord Roberts School has a current enrolment of 277 with a capacity of 497, École Riverview School has enrolment of 314 with capacity of 425; College Churchill has enrolment of 139 with capacity for 307; and Churchill High School has enrolment of 516 with a capacity for 894. WSD further notes that: “The school capacity is based on full time equivalents and instructional space (ie. classrooms). However, on an annual basis the needs of the school and community are reviewed in terms of space utilization which then impacts on the actual building capacity for a specific year. To illustrate this point, a school may have had a decline in enrolment and subsequently instructional space may have been reallocated for other purposes by the school, school division, or community. This could include for example a divisional program housed in a school, or use of space such as a day care by a community organization.”)
Because the new development is largely targeted at middle-income families, we believe it will lead to increased enrollment for Lord Roberts School as well as École Riverview School, and Churchill and Grant Park middle and high schools.
Not at all. On the contrary, a high quality development such as this should create an atmosphere of greater safety. The new units will be marketed to middle-income families, urban professionals and seniors. Additionally, experience tells us that vibrant areas that are populated, well-lit, and well-used tend to be safer as criminals prefer to go unnoticed.
The developer expects to work with the Winnipeg Police Service as well as area residents (including local Citizens On Patrol volunteers) to help ensure an already nice neighbourhood becomes an even safer, more pleasant place to live.
The Lord Roberts area already contains significant green space (McKittrick Park, Berwick Field, Lord Roberts School, Lord Roberts Community Centre, Churchill Parkway and other parks). The developer plans to add to that in a number of ways. For example, initial plans propose giving property and financial resources to the community centre so it can build a new soccer field.
The developer also plans to make financial contributions to upgrade and beautify the area’s other greenspaces. Through our public outreach, we are speaking to residents as well as representatives of the Lord Roberts Community Centre, the Lord Roberts School and the Osborne South BIZ to discover what the community’s needs and wishes are.
In addition, the developer plans to create new green spaces within the new development that can be shared by current and new residents. That includes helping the City of Winnipeg create a new active transportation pathway system for pedestrians and cyclists.
First, it is important to note that the land in question is currently a privately-owned property. It cannot and should not be considered greenspace or parkland. For safety reasons, the public is prohibited from entering the property or using it as a recreational space. It is a ‘brownfield’ site that will require some clean-up before it can be developed. It is also adjacent to a major rail line with active industrial workshops. It is not safe for people or their pets.
The decision to earmark the land for residential development was made by the City a number of years ago. The city’s long-term plans call for it to embrace in-fill development rather than have urban sprawl devour more and more farmland. Sprawl costs cities in many ways including very high infrastructure costs (construction and maintenance of roads and sewers).
According to city bylaws, we are required to allocate a certain amount of the property to greenspace. Once completed, this currently unused piece of land will be put into general use for the benefit of the area; it will result in new public greenspace; and existing greenspaces and public amenities could benefit from additional financial investments by the developer.
The City of Winnipeg’s long-term plans support residential development on the site. The City, along with the provincial and federal governments, has invested in a new Rapid Transit Corridor adjacent to the property. Increasing the population density next to the transit corridor will contribute to ridership just as having the transit corridor nearby will attract residents and increase property values.
The City has also stated that it supports the creation of quality, in-fill residential development over constant urban sprawl. In-fill developments such as this increase the city’s tax base without significantly adding to its ongoing operating costs.
It is impossible to predict exactly where housing values will head in the future. Successful transit-oriented developments tend to have positive impacts on the property values of adjacent areas. We expect that our proposed high quality housing development, priced for middle income families, urban professionals and seniors, will lead to rising property values in the existing area.
That does not necessarily mean higher taxes, however. The property values in the adjacent Lord Roberts and Riverview areas have increased markedly in the last decade (often doubling, tripling or more), but property taxes have remained more or less level. Property taxes are the responsibility of city council and local school divisions (Winnipeg School Division) and are based on a number of factors, not just property values.
The Lord Roberts neighbourhood currently uses a combined storm and wastewater sewage system. While the new housing development’s wastewater will be drained into the existing system, the rainfall and other run-off will all drain into the newly built stormwater sewers that were built as part of the Bus Rapid Transit corridor (ie. rain water will all drain towards the Pembina side of the site). City and private engineers have said that the current combined sewers have the capacity to handle the additional wastewater coming from the new development.
(UPDATE, January 18, 2012: Please click here to see our sewer study.)
The City of Winnipeg has indicated it wants to replace the old combined sewage system in the Lord Roberts area with a system that separates wastewater and stormwater.
We are designing the new residential development to handle rain water and run-off in accordance with modern eco-sensitive building principles.
No. There are no plans to build a street connection to Pembina Highway. Most stakeholders we’ve talked to including city planners, community leaders and area residents have said that a new road connection would create more problems than it might solve. The biggest concern is a new road connection would lead to a large amount of traffic cutting through the neighbourhood.
The City has studied the possibility of building a pedestrian overpass from Lord Roberts to Pembina Highway. Experts say building a span across the CN rail lines, the Bus Rapid Transit and the new active transportation pathway, would be very costly. The City could build such a span in the future, but it is not planned now.