Province supports new land use studies for Winnipeg airport area

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The provincial government is funding a new study to determine development around Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport – which has spent the past year opposing residential construction around the CF Polo Park shopping center.The province said Tuesday it was seeking a planning consultant to review land use policies around the airport and update a 25-year-old airport noise study.

The need for a new study emerged earlier this year at City Hall during a debate over modifying an existing planning framework known as the Airport Surrounding Protection Zone Plan. , which was created to reduce noise complaints about the airport.

Developers Cadillac Fairview – owner of the Polo Park mall – and Shindico Realty have requested changes to make way for residential housing in the parking lots surrounding the mall, as well as on the former site of Canad Inns Stadium to the north.

The Winnipeg Airports Authority opposed the changes on the grounds that new developments could threaten the airport’s 24-hour operation.

City council was set to approve the changes in May before the WAA – with support from Transport Canada – signaled its intention to have the matter dealt with by the province’s city council.

Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires said she expects the new studies to be completed in late fall, which means new planning guidelines for the airport area could be in place before city council makes a decision.

City-commissioned planning studies can take years to commission and complete.

“The intention is to do this as soon as possible, because we know that decisions have been made in this area for a very long time – and we know that at this time, economic recovery is of the utmost importance to Manitobans, ”Squires said Tuesday in an interview.

She said her government is paying for the study because the province has a huge interest in what she described as “proper land use planning” for the area around the airport.

“We know there is a lot of potential for growth, but we want to make sure that the growth is managed in a sustainable manner, and we have a vested interest in ensuring that Manitoba’s economy grows,” he said. she declared.

“The airport is critical to this, as is this part of the city of Winnipeg. ”

The Winnipeg Airport Authority welcomed the planning review and the new noise study.

“Whenever you’re making big decisions, it makes a lot of sense to make sure you have a good plan in place,” WAA Vice President Tyler MacAfee said in an interview.

“This should not be done on [the basis of] which developer shows up, when. ”

Shindico Realty said the study will not affect his plans.

“We have no doubt that the conclusions of our engineers will be confirmed by a larger study,” said Justin Zarnowski, general counsel for Shindico.

“The development of our Polo Park sites will have no impact on the 24-hour operation of the airport. ”

The city, which has criticized the province for giving more power to its city council, has expressed no jurisdictional concerns over the review of airport area planning and the noise study.

“The city looks forward to working with the province on the initiative it announced today,” City of Winnipeg communications director Felicia Wiltshire said in a statement.

Mayor Brian Bowman’s office declined to comment due to the ongoing city council hearing.

Another developer, Towers, also requested changes to the plan for the protection zone around the airport.

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