May updates on infill & other developments

2019 is proving to be a big year for infill. Here’s some updates on particular projects, the City’s Residential Infill Strategy & some YIMBY Winnipeg internal group news.

Bruce Oake Recovery Centre

Construction plans for the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre, with minor alterations, were approved by the City of Winnipeg’s Assiniboia community committee on May 7. The Bruce Oake Recovery Centre will be a long term treatment centre for people suffering from addictions. The construction of the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre will go a long way towards addressing significant unmet need for treatment services in Winnipeg. YIMBY Winnipeg supports facilities in Winnipeg, including the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre, that fulfil significant social needs.  

Good Street multifamily development

The Winnipeg’s City Centre community committee approved plans to rezone a section of Good Street for development. This development is purpose-built rental housing: a six-storey building with 145 units – which includes 1, 2, & 3-bedroom suites. Also included are communal amenities such as a theatre room, a gymnasium, and a business lounge. It further features 145 indoor bike parking spaces – one for each unit.

This infill site is located mid-block between Broadway and St. Mary Ave; a highly walkable location in the West Broadway neighbourhood in close proximity to downtown.  This development will replace unsightly surface parking lots and add a substantial number of rental units to meet a variety of housing needs, in an area that is well serviced by transit and has many amenities nearby.

There was an open house for the development at All Saints Anglican Church in September 2018. At the City centre community committee meeting, held in the evening, sixteen people showed up in support  and there were no delegates in opposition. The development, which YIMBY Winnipeg supports, was approved! 

Residential Infill Strategy

The Residential Infill Strategy is an ambitious, broad-ranging undertaking by the City of Winnipeg. It aims to develop more refined policy around developments in Winnipeg’s mature communities (infill). Public consultations for the strategy held last year were dominated by organized opponents of density-increasing infill and language in the draft strategy reflects a number of concerns raised by individuals with this perspective.

The City of Winnipeg, since January of this year, has been planning for further public consultations. This is a great opportunity for those who want to see mixed-use, amenity rich development and modest density growth in Winnipeg’s older neighbourhoods to have their say. Advocates for mixed-use density, however, need to make some concrete asks of the City to further our vision.

It appears that the next round of public consultations for the Residential Infill Strategy is delayed. Initially, there was hope for more public consultations to take place in spring. This was when Winnipeg’s Public Service was asking for $650K in additional funds from the City to do a comprehensive engagement and research process to refine the Residential Infill Strategy.

The City of Winnipeg did not budget an added $650K for work on the Residential Infill Strategy. As a result, the City’s stretched planning department (which does a lot of work, including reviewing countless proposed developments) will have to use their existing departmental budget and staff to conduct further work on the Residential Infill Strategy.

Because of this, the time frame is getting pushed further back to the fall.

Nevertheless, in April City Council gave the Public Service the go ahead to work on two parts of the Residential Infill Strategy: design guidelines for infill and intensification criteria.

The Public Service is currently engaged in the data collection phase. They’re looking at what the character of mature communities are, what lot coverage for homes are, and what other cities are doing. They are primarily looking at Canadian cities, but are eyeing a few US cities as well.

Come fall, the public engagement process could play out a number of ways. Some possibilities include open houses, surveys and stakeholder conversations.

YIMBY Winnipeg’s Residential Infill Strategy working group is closely examining the draft Residential Infill Strategy, past work done by the City and the dynamics at City Council. Through brainstorming and research, we are devising concrete asks in terms of policies and priorities we’d like to see the Residential Infill Strategy address.

YIMBY Winnipeg Terms of Reference

The spokesperson of YIMBY Winnipeg is currently devising a terms of reference for a growing group. The Terms of Reference will outline our core vision and mission. It will be presented at our next general supporters meeting.