Major Redevelopment Sites – Rapid Transit Corridors
The City of Winnipeg, through the OurWinnipeg – Complete Communities planning document, sets out prescribed expectations for accommodating population growth. Specific areas of the city are identified that provide best opportunities to do so in an environmental, socially and economically sustainable way.
OurWinnipeg – Complete Communities is based on an Urban Structure which identifies areas of significant growth and change called Transformative Areas. Two of the sub sections identified within the Transformative Areas are Centres and Corridors (Rapid Transit Corridors) and Major Redevelopment Sites (MRS).
The Parker Lands represent one of eleven identified Major Redevelopment Sites and are also one of four sites to fall under both the Rapid Transit Corridors and Major Redevelopment Sites sections of Complete Communities.
The policy framework within OurWinnipeg – Complete Communities provides clear and direct expectations that designated sites are:
- To be developed to meet overall growth expectations for Winnipeg, including housing for an additional 83,000 households by 2030 (Note: recently revised to 100,000 households by 2040);
- Must be planned for high density development. These sites are seen as opportunities to house higher density development without conflict often associated with introducing density to existing areas, given that many are older, vacant, larger areas they can accommodate density and the City, through OurWinnipeg, indicates that this opportunity should not be missed;
- Expected that the developer will maximize development potential of the sites and that the City will set minimum density targets. Unlike other areas in the Complete Communities plan, in the Major Redevelopment Sites section, the concern is accommodating enough density to warrant potentially significant infrastructure improvements at both a regional and local scale;
- Expected that the Developer and City will collaborate on a planning process;
- Expected that the City and Developer will work together to remove infrastructure barriers that may be in the way of realizing density expectations. The City of Winnipeg, through the plan, acknowledges that these sites will not be developed to their full potential without the City removing barriers related to infrastructure improvements; and
- Planned for in a coherent manner as a complete community, including planning for a broad spectrum of housing, amenities, open spaces and offering transportation choices other than the automobile.
|OurWinnipeg: City of Winnipeg Development Plan||Complete Communities: A City of Winnipeg Direction Strategy|
The Parker Lands planning process followed by the Developer meets all expectations in Complete Communities. The process included extensive background studies by a team of experts in their respective fields (engineering, planning, design, economics, ecology), 24 drafts of the plan and extensive review by City administration.
Key issues related to density and infrastructure improvements must be addressed in order to realize the full potential of the Parker Lands MRS.
The Parker Lands Secondary plan and Fulton Grove DASZ/Rezoning application aligns with the policy directions set out in the Rapid Transit Corridors and Major Redevelopment Site sections of Complete Communities.
OurWinnipeg – Complete Communities sets out a clear expectation that Winnipeg will need to encourage density within the existing built environment. OurWinnipeg predicted that Winnipeg would be growing at a faster pace than had been in previous decades, and to accommodate that growth, Winnipeg would need to house an additional 83,000 households to 2030.
Critical studies on how best to accommodate this growth concluded that the growth forecast, if realized, will exhaust all suburban land supply without densifying the existing city. The Winnipeg Employment Lands Strategy (2008) and The Winnipeg Residential Land and Infill Strategy (2009) (referred to in the binder under section 8.2 Policy Framework Review) both concluded that there were several opportunities to accommodate growth within the existing city, most notably in older industrial areas, along corridors/centres and in the Downtown.
The Winnipeg Employment Lands Strategy identified a series of large, obsolete, older industrial areas that could be repurposed and redeveloped to accommodate higher density growth. These sites were confirmed as critical land supply in the Winnipeg Land Residential and Infill Strategy. This strategy suggested that Winnipeg needed to accommodate growth differently than it had in the past by designating areas within the existing City to be redeveloped and repurposed for residential and mixed-use development.
OurWinnipeg- Complete Communities is based on an urban structure which identifies areas of significant growth and change called Transformative Areas. Within the Transformation Areas section are the Centres and Corridors (Rapid Transit Corridors) and Major Redevelopment Sites (MRS) sub sections.
The Parker Lands are one of eleven identified Major Redevelopment Sites (MRS) sites and are one of four sites that fall under both the Rapid Transit Corridors and Major Redevelopment Sites sections of Complete Communities. They were considered ‘game changers’ for Winnipeg as they were uniquely positioned to accommodate high-density development and multiple modes of transportation. Four of the eleven sites were immediately identified as opportunities for Transit Oriented Development.
Up until this point, Winnipeg had not explored the relationship between development and successfully evolving people’s travel choices from a personal automobile to transit. The four sites, Parker Lands, Fort Rouge Yards, Sugar Beet Lands and Southwood Golf Course presented an opportunity to create new dense neighborhoods that would offer transit as a primary choice of travel (over the personal automobile).
In 2014, the City of Winnipeg confirmed that the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor, Stage 2 (SWRTC2) would run through or in close proximity to four of the above mentioned Major Redevelopment Sites. This decision was based on economic analysis and business case development that confirmed that these sites were uniquely positioned to accommodate high-density development. The development of these sites along the rapid transit corridor would encourage residents and visitors to consider transit as a primary transportation choice and in doing so, would position the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor for success.
While the sites were noted as a ‘game changing’ opportunity for the city, OurWinnipeg – Complete Communities, identified that these sites could be difficult to develop. The policy sections that provide the important direction on how these sites could develop, are The Rapid Transit Corridor (03-2i) and Major Redevelopment Sites (03-3) which confirm that these sites could face challenges that will require both the City and the Developer to work in alignment and in a collaborative manner to address issues unique to the sites.
Complete Communities, pgs. 66 and 67
The Major Redevelopment Site (MRS) and Rapid Transit Corridor sections contain a set of direction strategies. These directions stress the imperative of planning and developing careful but aggressive density in these sites. The sections are unique when compared to the rest of the Complete Communities plan, including a unique perspective that the overall need for these sites is to accommodate major density, including setting minimum density targets (as opposed to maximum density targets) and that the City will work with the developer to align infrastructure improvements to accommodate redevelopment opportunity.
Policy Directions & Implementation
Policy Directions for a Major Redevelopment Site located along a Rapid Transit Corridor:
- Collaborate on a planning process that is guided by a set of proactive implementation tools. (03-3 – D1; page 68).
These tools are set out in Section 14 – Implementation and include:
- Engage in a collaborative and integrated planning;
- Identify infrastructure related requirements to support the MRS site plan as part of the planning process and work with the developer including assigning requirements and if at a regional scale, aligning those requirements within City budget process;
- Market and communicate why MRS development is imperative for the City’s ability to accommodate growth and change and work with community and stakeholders to understand why they are important (03-3 page 66; 14 – D1, 2, 3, 4 pages 136 – 141)
- Plan for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) including “significant densities, more amenities, better use of parking, calming of streets, improvements to the public realm and greater affordability than would be financially feasible otherwise in a traditional market driven project” (03-2i – D3; page 63; 03-03 – D4)
- Remove barriers in the way of developing MRS sites such as regional infrastructure improvements and contamination clean-up (03-3 page 67)
- Ensure that there is proper infrastructure and servicing along the corridor in nodes (i.e. MRS) to enable higher density development (03-2i – D 1; page 62)
- While an expectation of the developer is to plan for development with the City and meet specific planning objectives, the City is expected to be very proactive and address and remove barriers that have the potential to derail successful planning and development of the site.
- Require densities high enough to justify investment in infrastructure upgrades (03-3 D1, 2, 3, 4 – page 66). MRS development (especially those along a Rapid Transit Corridor) depends on densities to create a “critical mass that can support neighbourhood retail and vibrant, people-oriented places. These densities must be designed in a way that creates attractive communities where modes of active transportation and public transit are competitive with the private automobile.” (page 66, Our Winnipeg – Complete Communities)
- Require developer to meet minimum density standards (03-2i -D3; page 63 and 03-3 D1; page 69). Unlike any other component in Our Winnipeg – Complete Communities the expectation of a MRS site located along rapid transit is that the developer will commit to maximizing development potential.
- Require demonstration, through planning, strong urban design and attractive parks, places and open spaces including being sensitive to any significant features or resources (03-3 D 4; page 69).
- Requiring adherence to principles of Transit-Oriented Development (03-2i -D2; page 62/03-3 D2; page 68).
- Address inadequate infrastructure often associated with MRS sites including cost sharing of infrastructure requirements and for regional infrastructure, planning ahead to integrate any budget requirements well in advance of actual development (03-3 D2; page 68)
- Address any contamination (03-3; page 67/ 03-3 D3; page 68)