Residents who may be forced to sell their homes or face expropriation for the Kenaston Boulevard widening project say they’re confused and want clarity from the City of Winnipeg about what their future entails.
“The loss of the home itself is one issue but the other question is when, and I’m not alone. There’s a lot of other homeowners in this community who are in absolute limbo,” said Ken Klassen, who lives near the St. James Bridge.
He is one of several residents whose homes the city says may have to be demolished as part of the project, which will see the widening of Kenaston Boulevard and a new St. James Bridge.
About 50 residents attended a meeting hosted by the city Tuesday, where officials released design drawings showing what a widened Route 90 and the new St. James Bridge might look like. The goal is to improve traffic flow and make Route 90 better for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.
The city declined to give a precise number of how many homes may have to go for the expansion project, saying it is still in the early phases.
“It’s only a functional design and it’s very premature to … provide that information that, you know, your house is going to be affected and what the fair market value is and whether it’s going to be acquired or expropriated,” said Vaibhav Banthia, bridge projects engineer with the city’s public works department.
‘I’m feeling in the dark’
Many residents who live on Route 90 or just off the busy road who spoke to CBC on Thursday said they felt confused by the city’s plan.
“I’m feeling fairly in the dark. I have no idea what is actually going to occur and it’s kind of worrisome as a homeowner,” said Nicole Agnew, who lives on Route 90 and now wants to sell her home.
Victor Coyston is far enough away from Route 90 that he wouldn’t have to move but the expansion project would mean he’d be closer to Kenaston Boulevard traffic — something he said he’d be OK with as long as the city installs a barrier at the end of his road.
“I got no real quarrel with it if it’s done in a [reasonable] way,” he said.
The city has sent about 4,000 letters to people living and working in the area, inviting them to two upcoming meetings at Carpathia School on June 25 and 27.
Klassen said he’d like to see the city buy homes that will eventually be demolished now instead of leaving residents waiting, but Banthia reiterated it’s too soon.
“That’s just not fair,” Klassen said. “They shouldn’t hold people hostage and ask people to put their lives on hold.”
Banthia said if all goes according to plan, construction could start in 2022.
Published at Thu, 14 Jun 2018 19:42:44 -0400