Increased density in planned development at former Canada Packers site moves forward at Winnipeg city hall

A plan to add more housing units to a proposed development in St. Boniface cleared its first hurdle at Winnipeg city hall.

Council approved a plan to redevelop the former Canada Packers site four years ago. The area covers approximately 66 hectares of the Public Markets site in the St. Boniface industrial park, on the former home of the Union Stock Yards and the Canada Packers meat-packing plant, which was demolished in 2001.

On Monday, council’s Riel community committee voted to increase the number of housing units there from 1,200 to 2,000, and increase the maximum building height from 10 storeys to 14.

The development is being spearheaded by Calgary-based Olexa Developments, in partnership with the Shindico real estate agency. 

“The current housing shortage in Winnipeg requires more units to meet community needs,” said Robert Scaletta, Shindico’s development manager, during the meeting on Monday.

“There is a need for affordable housing. To achieve this, there needs to be an increase in density to reduce the land cost per unit.”

The area is bordered by Marion Street to the north, a residential development to the south, and rail lines to the east and west.

Winnipeg emergency services have raised concerns about delays caused by trains blocking rail crossings into the area.

A city planner told the committee that new technology would alert dispatchers whenever a crossing is affected.

The development would feature mostly commercial and office space, with residential units concentrated in a number of highrise apartment buildings in the western portion. 

The developer says 200 residential units would be designated as affordable.

Teresa Cwik, speaking on behalf of the South St. Boniface Residents Association, spoke in opposition to the increased units. She raised concerns about traffic bottlenecks from vehicles driving in and out of the development. 

“The city may also have to redo roads to accommodate all this extra traffic. If all these units are let in and traffic increases, will Marion Street have to be widened? Will other roads be affected? Will this all be at the taxpayers’ expense?” Cwik said during the meeting.

The changes to the plans still require approval from city council as a whole.