Committee OKs plan for new Winnipeg neighbourhood

A new neighbourhood could soon crop up on the outskirts of Winnipeg.

New Ridgewood South neighbourhood would sit at city’s edge south of Charleswood

Winnipeg council committee approves plan for property developers to create Ridgewood South, a new residential development south of Charleswood. 1:38

A new neighbourhood could soon crop up on the outskirts of Winnipeg.

The City of Winnipeg’s property committee approved a plan from several property developers to create a new development south of Charleswood.

The proposal would see an area bordered by Wilkes Avenue and the west Perimeter Highway turned into Ridgewood South, the city’s newest and largest neighbourhood since Waverley West.

There were no objections to the developers’ plans on Tuesday, and the development will now go to the city’s executive policy committee for review.

Coun. Jeff Browaty said the new neighbourhood would meet an existing demand for new homes in the city.

"These new subdivisions that are coming up are filling up quite quickly, and I mean, if it’s not in the city of Winnipeg, it's in the bedroom communities beyond," said Browaty.

But not everyone is pleased with the proposal. University of Winnipeg urban studies professor Jim Silver said the city doesn’t need more suburban neighbourhoods.

He said developments like Ridgewood South come at a huge cost to taxpayers in the form of capital spending.

"It’s big highways and bridges to accommodate that moving ever further from the city," said Silver.

Instead, he said Winnipeg should be developing the inner city and building more affordable homes for lower-income families.

"The greatest need for housing in Winnipeg today is in the inner city where we have a crisis for low-income rental," Silver said.

Project a long way from fruition

Even if approved, Ridgewood South won’t pop up overnight. Right now nearly 30 parties own the land in the area.

About 60 per cent belongs to Qualico Developments. The rest is owned by about 30 different parties.

"It’s very hard to predict what each landowner is going to do with their land," said Donovan Toews of Landmark Planning and Design.

Landmark and Stantec, another professional design company, are working with the area’s landowners and the city to see the project realized.

But Toews said even though construction could start as early as 2014, the project would need much longer than that to come to fruition.

"It could be 15-20 years, depending on what happens," said Toews.

He added another hurdle will be extending a nearby parkway and drain pipe.

"A lot of development is contingent on the Bill Clement Parkway being extended and the Harstone drain, which is a big drain pipe for land drainage," said Toews.

The next step in the process is public consultations. After those are completed, the bid will head to the city’s executive policy committee for a vote.

If approved, the development will go to city council for final approval.