Developer tweaks plan for homes near Red
Six homes are on track to get built in the Cloutier Drive neighbourhood, despite initial concerns about risk of flooding from the nearby Red River.
At first, city planners called on council to reject a proposal that would add the new homes to Macbell Road, noting they may not meet provincial flood requirements.
Residents of the Cloutier Drive area are frequently required to sandbag their homes during spring flood season.
However, two city committees have since voted in favour of the development, after hearing city staff were later satisfied by changes to the original plan.
“I think the developer put in the work to sit down with the staff and reduce the size of the application. In light of that, the staff felt it might be workable… This isn’t us ignoring the flood fringe regulations, this is a developer who was forced to compromise and came back with something (with fewer homes) than what they originally proposed,” said Coun. Brian Mayes.
Mayes joined Coun. Markus Chambers at a recent Riel community committee meeting to vote in favour of the plan, after city staff said they would support its latest version. That modified plan reduced the number of proposed homes to six from eight.
The councillor said any remaining concerns can be sorted out through a building permit application process, since the city can deny the permit if proper flood precautions aren’t met.
On Thursday, council’s property and development committee cast approved the plan. Coun. Sherri Rollins, the committee chairwoman, noted the revised scope of the proposal leaves space for berms and other protective measures, which she said helped earn the support of city staff and politicians.
Rollins said there are clear provincial rules on protecting flood-zone properties but there is still a demand to live near the river.
“What is interesting in flood plains, is this isn’t the first and it won’t be the last (request). Winnipeggers love being next to the river, so we do have the provincial legislation that we must adhere to, if not (also putting) significant caveats around properties,” she said.
During the Riel committee meeting, John Wintrup, a planning consultant for the developer, said the city’s concerns about the plan have been addressed.
“We’ve made concessions, we’d like to advance this forward. We’ll comply with building code and engineering requirements,” Wintrup told the committee.
The approval does come with extra conditions for the developer, which must provide a detailed design of key flood-protection works, such as possible retaining walls and landscaping.
The original city report notes the land is located in the floodway fringe area where all construction must meet set regulations.
“It is… highly likely that if the developer were to seek a provisional approval of an engineered flood-protection concept from the floodway fringe waiver committee, as recommended by the public service, the engineered concept would likely require larger lot sizes, and impose various other constraints on the development,” that report notes.
However, staff at Thursday’s property and development meeting confirmed city planners now support the development, with the reduced size and added conditions.
“It’s in the designated floodway fringe area and what we needed was an engineering report on how these homes were going to be protected (against) future events of flood… providing this engineer’s report on flood protection satisfied the public service,” said James Vietch, the city’s acting manager of urban planning and design.
The proposal still requires final council approval.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.
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