Winnipeg council wraps session for summer
School speed zones, parking rates, fate of Shanghai Restaurant among items addressed
Posted: Jul 18, 2012 1:10 PM CT
Last Updated: Jul 18, 2012 5:48 PM CT
Winnipeg's city council checked off a number of outstanding issues from its list Wednesday as it closed shop for the summer.
Among the decisions made, council approved reduced speeds in school zones, dropping to 30 km/h from the present 50.
Implementing the move affecting 250 school zones will be expensive, Mayor Sam Katz admitted.
"You're talking about $4,000 a school — that's No. 1," he said.
"There's concrete involved: You put these in concrete bases, you erect them, you have to manufacture the signs. You know, this isn't like a yard sale and you throw up a sign. It's probably more than what most people would think."
However, Katz said he believes the city's Public Works Department is asking for more money than what might be needed to ensure it won't have to come back to the city for additional funding.
Because setting speed limits is a provincial responsibility under the Highway Traffic Act, the city must wait for the province to give the bill final reading, which is expected by the end of the year.
Once approved, the signs are expected to be erected by spring.
Two councillors wanted to extend the reduction to Winnipeg's residential streets, a proposal that will be considered in the fall.
The city also passed a motion to extend Sunday shopping hours.
As of Aug. 5, stores will be able to open as early as 9 a.m. and close by 6 p.m.
The province loosened the rules earlier this month, allowing municipalities to pass their own bylaws to extend shopping hours on Sundays and some statutory holidays if they want.
Stores in Winnipeg will not be required to open earlier. The decision is up to them.
Both the speed zone and Sunday shopping rules passed with a rare unanimous vote.
But councillors did not agree on a motion to allow the demolition of the Shanghai Restaurant building, despite no development plan being in place.
That passed by a vote of 13 to three.
The building, at the corner of King Street and Alexander Avenue on the edge of downtown, was built in 1883 and once had a brief tenure as City Hall in the 1880s. It was most recently the Shanghai restaurant, which closed earlier this year.
The building is listed on the historical buildings inventory, but not protected as a heritage site.
Council on Wednesday also approved:
- Doubling parking rates in parts of downtown Winnipeg, from $1 to $2 an hour.
- Extending the hours of parking meter payment from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Spending $51 million for the expansion of the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
- Spending $2.5 million for a cultural district streetscaping project.
- Reviewing what to do with $7 million set aside for a water park.
A proposal for a water park and hotel complex at the corner of William Stephenson Way and Waterfront Drive was pulled by the developers in May amid controversy.
The city had set aside $7 million as a subsidy to encourage a developer to come forward and build the project.
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