PRESS RELEASE: YIMBY Winnipeg calls for a comprehensive Review of the Airport Area Plan

YIMBY Winnipeg is calling for a comprehensive review of the Airport Vicinity Protection Area Secondary Plan (AVPA). Recent projects under review have made it apparent that this 25 year plan needs a thorough, comprehensive review.

On April 28, the Executive Policy Committee of Winnipeg City Council voted against planned amendments that would carve out a small part of Area I, where multifamily development is prohibited, and move it to Area II to permit multifamily projects. The Public Service recommended against this, basing their decision almost exclusively on fears that the development would risk 24 hour airport operations through noise complaints.

The administrative report prepared by the Public Service suggests the issue “may be best considered through a comprehensive review of the AVPA through a planning process that is supported by current information, a consistent methodology, and collaboration with stakeholders.”

YIMBY Winnipeg agrees that the  AVPA is long overdue for a review. The enormous amount of land designated as “Area I” by the plan freezes development in West Winnipeg in a pattern of lower density mall sprawl. Under the plan buildings in Area I, which are mostly single family houses, can be replaced at existing densities but not higher. Given the transit service, particularly along Portage Avenue, amenities in the area and future housing demand, which will skew multifamily, this means an enormous missed opportunity for the type of neighbourhood evolution our city needs.

This is why YIMBY Winnipeg agrees that we need a comprehensive Review and update of the AVPA. The review process needs to consider:

  • Increased demand for multifamily development and the need to foster lower carbon living that is more fiscally sustainable for the City through mixed-use density.
  • The enormous weight that ensuring housing affordability and slowing down the trend of rising rents in our City should be given in making policy decisions that affect the size of the rental housing stock.
  • Technological innovations that have affected aircraft noise and the potential for the Airport to adopt more of these innovations. The City needs to hire outside, third party technical experts of their own to evaluate this.
  • The importance of increasing opportunities to improve properties and build for all property owners in Area I of the AVPA.
We agree that dealing with the barriers to new housing caused by the plan, on a case-by-case  basis of spot rezonings, is far from ideal. We also acknowledge that current proposals, due to the limits of the AVPA, are likely to be compromised and less dense than could be the case if we had an updated plan explicitly permitting multifamily housing in the area. We recommend that the City regard the review and update of the AVPA as a top priority for completion before the end of the 2021 calendar year.

Dylon Martin
YIMBY Winnipeg