What are the Parker Lands?
The Parker Lands represent a prominent brownfield, infill site in south central Winnipeg with redevelopment potential as identified in OurWinnipeg where it is cited as one of eleven (11) Major Redevelopments Sites (MRS), and included in the City’s supply/demand analysis to meet current growth projections to 2031.
The Parker Lands fall within 800 metres of the proposed Parker Transit Station on the Southwest Bus Rapid-Transit Corridor (Stage 2).
Where are the Parker Lands located in Winnipeg?
The Parker Lands are within the larger Parker Neighbourhood (1.654) and are centrally located in Winnipeg south of Taylor Avenue and the CNR Rivers Subdivision (CN Main Line), west of Pembina Hwy/Jubilee Avenue at the end of Hurst Way, just east of the Winnipeg Humane Society with the southern boundary on Parker and Heatherdale Avenues. It is approximately 10 minutes by car or bus from Downtown and from the University of Manitoba.
The Parker Lands are approximately +/133 acres in a triangular shape (right angled) with the hypotenuse located immediately south of CNR Rivers (Main Line), west of Pembina of Hwy, east of Waverley and north of Beaumont Neighbourhood in the River Heights – Fort Garry Ward.
They fall within 800 metres of the proposed Parker Transit Station on the Southwest Bus Rapid-Transit Corridor (Stage 2) that is under construction through the southern half of the site.
What is the current Zoning of the Parker Lands?
Winnipeg’s Zoning By-law 200/2006 divides areas into zoning districts in order to separate residential, commercial and industrial land-uses; and to regulate specific land-uses and built forms. Zoning does not apply to either unimproved or improved Public Street Right-of-Ways (ROWs) or Public Lane ROWs. An unimproved ROW means no concrete, asphalt or gravel
has been laid down and the road bed remains in a natural state though legally open as a ROW.
The Parker Lands is currently zoned as the following:
- “A” Agricultural Districts;
- “R1” Residential Single-Family Districts;
- “M1” Manufacturing Light Districts; and
- “M2” Manufacturing General Districts.
M1 and M2 districts are intended to provide for light manufacturing, processing, service, storage, wholesale, and distribution operations, with some limited outside operations and storage.
The Parker Lands are also abutting or near the aforementioned zoning districts and:
- “C2” Commercial Community Districts;
- “C3” Commercial Corridor Districts;
- “PR1” Parks and Recreation 1 (Neighbourhood) Districts;
- “PR2” Parks and Recreation 2 (Community) Districts;
- “PR3” Parks and Recreation 3 (Regional) Districts;
- “M1” Manufacturing Light Districts; and
- “M2” Manufacturing General Districts.
The Taylor Lands to the north are zoned “C3” with a Planned Development Overlay 2 (“PDO- 2”) that is unique to the Taylor Lands MRS. The “PDO-2” allows multiple-family dwellings, wholesaling and warehousing as permitted uses, not-with-standing that they are not allowed in the “C3” District.
What is a Major Redevelopment Site?
The City of Winnipeg indicates in Our Winnipeg – Complete Communities that Major Redevelopment Sites hold enormous potential to support sustainable growth and development within the existing city, or in other words, infill development. The City cites that these lands are critical for Winnipeg to meet its growth projections and to maximize its existing development lands.
The City, through the OurWinnipeg process, indicates that these areas should be developed as mid/high density development for the following reasons:
- Location – often not impacting existing neighbourhoods – usually obsolete industrial areas.
- Proximity to Transit – often sites are near High Frequency Transit or Rapid Transit Corridors – called Transit Oriented Development.
- The City, because of the complexities to realize sustainable development on these sites, indicates that they will work with the developer to address infrastructure (transportation and other) improvements.
What is the Process to Develop the Parker Lands?
Any residential development on the Parker Lands is subject to a developer led planning process. This process, as directed by Winnipeg City Council, was to be a secondary planning process and shall incorporate appropriate public consultations.
A Subdivision and Rezoning (DASZ) is required to change the current zoning (M2) to a zoning category that will allow the type and scale of residential development envisioned for the site. The Secondary Plan is subject to a public meeting and the DASZ is subject to a public hearing, which can be combined and heard at one time. Council is the approval authority of these matters.
Has the Development Team Completed a Planning Process?
The developer has been working on the required plan dating back to 2012 including:
- 25 drafts of the secondary plan
- 3 reviews by the City of Winnipeg Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
- 3 changes in Public Service project lead during the process
- Over 50 in-person meetings with the City of Winnipeg’s Urban Planning Division, who are the Public Service lead on the planning process
- 7 drafts of the Planned Development Overlay (PDO)
- Submittal of a DASZ Pre-Application for preliminary review
- Meetings with Water & Waste to discuss land drainage matters and the proposed high density development dating back to 2012.
What is the Parker Lands Major Redevelopment Site Master Plan?
The purpose of the Parker Lands Major Redevelopment Site Master Plan (“the Plan”) is to provide direction on the planned and orderly development of underutilized brownfield lands as identified by Complete Communities into a vibrant, diverse, compact residential neighbourhood with strong multi-modal transportation connectivity.
What will the Parker Lands become?
The Parker Lands will become one of the first Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) within Winnipeg in keeping with the guidelines and vision that have been produced by the City of Winnipeg through their policies and handbooks. The proposed Southwest Bus Rapid-Transit Corridor (Stage 2) will be fully integrated into the urban design of the planned neighbourhood allowing for easy transportation access, reduced reliance on vehicles and better management of transportation demand and parking requirements.
What will be the impact of the Development of the Parker Lands?
The Parker Lands redevelopment can be an opportunity to make an efficient use of municipal infrastructure. Concentrating densities on underutilized lands, and directing more residential users/rate payers towards major transportation projects (the Southwest Bus Rapid-Transit
Corridor (Stage 2), AT Paths, Waverley Underpass, and Pembina Hwy Underpass) that are receiving significant investments of public funds to expand capacity and improve transportation movements to the rest of Winnipeg.
The Plan Area is underperforming on the municipal tax rolls as a vacant brownfield site. A redevelopment into an energetic, dense, residential neighbourhood will optimize the parcel of lands for residential uses and significantly boost contributions to the municipal tax base. This location provides a real opportunity to direct residential growth towards existing communities and existing infrastructure & municipal services in a compact pattern to minimize the need for greenfield developments on the fringes of the city.
What is TOD / Transit-Oriented Development?
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) aims to leverage strategic improvements to transit networks to not just create a more reliable, competitive and convenient alternative to driving, but to catalyze urban transformation and intensification along major transit corridors and promote transit supportive development throughout Winnipeg.
TOD is a concept designed to maximize access to public transport, and typically involves mixeduse, higher density pedestrian-oriented infill development within a five to ten minute (400m – 800m) walk of a transit station.
TOD relies on development near rapid transit stations, allowing for higher than normal densities and reduced parking.
Proximity to transit stations suggests that residents and visitors will choose transit as their preferred choice of travel, enabling dense development, compact form without surface parking (which takes up significant land).
Why have TOD / Transit-Oriented Development?
Investments in transit are not just investments in transportation infrastructure, but investments in city building and economic development.
TOD offsets and counters developments elsewhere on the urban fringe that consume acres of open space, require extensive expenditures on infrastructure, and perpetuate auto travel.
TOD is a major solution to the serious and growing problems of climate change and global energy security by creating dense, walkable communities that greatly reduce the need for driving and energy consumption. This type of living arrangement can reduce driving by up to 85%.
Why develop Parker Lands?
A series of policy decisions were approved by Council subsequent to the adoption of OurWinnipeg that further reinforce the City’s expectation that the Parker Lands should be redeveloped to support significant levels of mixed use, high density development. Perhaps the most significant decision was the realignment of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor Stage 2
through the Parker Lands:
Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor Stage 2 – Alignment Study – January 2013
The City of Winnipeg commissioned an alignment study to review the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor Alignment as described in OurWinnipeg. It looked at a series of alignment options and concluded that the OurWinnipeg alignment be rerouted through the Parker
Lands to maximize growth and densification opportunity.
The study focused largely on OurWinnipeg – Complete Communities directive and the Transit Oriented Development Handbook to use rapid transit to maximize development potential of Major Redevelopment Sites:
“In order to maximize the development potential of both the Major Redevelopment Sites and the viability of the transit system, these lands should be developed in accordance with the principles
of Transit Oriented Development.” (Complete Communities, p.66) Redevelopment Sites feature Neighbourhood Centres, including Parks, Places, and Open Spaces, that are the nodes with which to integrate public transit stations. The City’s policy is to help reduce Major Redevelopment Site barriers related to the complexity of location, infrastructure, land assembly,
and potential contamination.”
The study went on to build the case that development of Major Redevelopment Sites along the corridor, including the Parker Lands MRS should be maximized to finance the rapid transit system:
“The potential for new development adjacent to the transit corridor creates a possible option to finance the transit project through a tax increment financing model. Both the current tax base for those areas with potential for TOD, and the future potential tax base resulting from projected
TOD have been quantified. The differential represents the potential incremental tax revenues that could be utilized for project financing.” (Southwest Rapid Transit Stage 2 Alignment Study – Final Report, Page 34).
Why develop Parker Lands as high density residential TOD?
A series of policy decisions were approved by Council subsequent to the adoption of OurWinnipeg that further reinforce the City’s expectation that the Parker Lands should be redeveloped to support significant levels of mixed use, high density development:
Winnipeg Transit Oriented Development Handbook (TOD Handbook) – (Adopted by Winnipeg City Council – Feb 22nd, 2012)
The Winnipeg Transit Oriented Development Handbook (TOD Handbook) was endorsed as policy (TR-006) by Winnipeg Council on February 22, 2012. It establishes the following:
“Moderate to higher density compact mixed-use development, located within an easy five to ten minute (approximately 400m to 800m) walk of a major transit stop. TOD involves high quality urban development with a mix of residential, employment and shopping opportunities, designed in a pedestrian oriented manner without excluding the automobile.
TOD can be new construction or redevelopment of one or more buildings whose design and orientation facilitate the use of convenient and sustainable modes of transportation, including public transit and Active Transportation.”(Section 2A – TOD Defined; TOD Handbook, page 6).
The TOD Handbook identifies the Parker Lands as fitting the TOD Urban Neighbourhood Typology:
- Density 99 – 247 units per net hectare (40 – 100 units per net acre) enabled by: Height: 3 – 12 storey buildings.
- Site Coverage: 80% min – 90% max.
- Pedestrian Environment 4.25 – 5.5 metres (14 – 18 feet) wide sidewalks (typ.), convenient connections, and other amenities.
Land Use Mix
- Employment: Office centre, retail, commercial, and urban entertainment. Primarily local serving retail; need for some community-serving retail.
- Residential: Mid-rise residential, condos, ground-related units, and mixed-use structures, with ground floor retail or office use required. Minimum ground floor height of 4.8 metres (16’).
Transit Frequency 5-15 minutes.
What did the Expropriation Inquiry (the Uylatt Report ) Find?
The City failed to consult with the Parker Land Owner, and it could be fairly argued that there appeared to be a conscious effort on the part of the City to keep the Objector unaware of the plans of placing a single, large pond on the property. It was only by accident that the Objector became aware of the proposed pond on his property which led to a meeting with City Officials
on January 13, 2014. As a result of the meeting, wherein the Objector received Exhibit 20, the Pond Design, a subsequent meeting was set with Senior Officials of the City, including the Acting COO, who advised that there was no final decision on the pond design, and it was placed on Exhibit 20 for placeholder purposes only. This was not true.
The Objector, it appeared, felt a great hardship had been imposed on him and to that extent, the Inquiry Officer agreed.
In the present circumstances, the evidence demonstrated a course of conduct contrary to the City objectives of fairness, openness and consultation. In fact, the evidence demonstrated that the City was, at least to this Inquiry Officer, secretive, uncommunicative, and non-consultative,
to the extent that the Objector only found out about the placement of the pond on his property by accident. Furthermore, when the Objector, upon learning of the City’s plans, pursued discussions at the highest level of the City’s administration, he did not receive a truthful answer.
In conclusion, the Inquiry Officer ruled that the City had not met their obligation to show that the proposed taking was “fair and reasonably necessary”; nor had the city met the tests of balancing public versus private interests, and therefore, the proposed taking was denied.
Why did the land owners have lands Expropriated by the City in 2015?
On February 25, 2015 Council initiated the expropriation of lands for the Cockburn-Calrossie Combined Sewer Area – Drainage Upgrade Project to secure about 20 acres of the Parker Lands for a retention pond.
The purpose of the Calrossie Project is to provide total separation of storm & sanitary sewers to eliminate basement flooding, and sewer runoff. Originally there was a two pond option proposed (one pond south of Taylor and one on Parker Lands). In 2012, the City chose to have only one, large pond on the Parker Lands.
The expropriation was subject to an Expropriation Inquiry. The outcome of the inquiry was summarized in a public report called the Uylatt Report that deemed the expropriation as unfair. The Uylatt Report also cited that the City of Winnipeg did not treat the landowners fairly.
On January 27, 2016 Council confirmed that the expropriation of lands for the Cockburn- Calrossie Combined Sewer Area – Drainage Upgrade Project, approved at the February 25, 2015 Council Meeting, be confirmed as outlined in the Declaration of Expropriation submitted on February 25, 2015, and the denial of the proposed taking as stated in the Inquiry Report not be endorsed.
Did the City require or request any Environmental Reports on the Parker Lands during the Planning Process?
No. Despite that the development of the site does not require an Environmental Act License, intensive science-based environmental survey work has been conducted to document the avian, mammal, herptile, and floral species present with the Parker Lands and to assess for the presence of species at risk. This has been strictly voluntarily brought forward by GEM Equites.