Manitoba

Hung vote fails to decide fate of Crescentwood condo project

Winnipeg's chief planner and property chair wound up on opposite sides of a debate about infill housing as council's property and development committee failed to decide whether a condo project will rise on an empty plot of Crescentwood land.

Property committee votes 2-2 over Ventura project; EPC gets next crack

Winnipeg's chief planner and property chair wound up on opposite sides of a debate about infill housing as council's property and development committee failed to decide whether a condo project will rise on an empty plot of Crescentwood land. 1:34

Winnipeg's chief planner and property chair wound up on opposite sides of a debate about infill housing as council's property and development committee failed to decide whether a condo project will rise on an empty plot of Crescentwood land.

Council's property and development committee wound up in a 2-2 hung vote over a four-storey, 12-unit condo project  Winnipeg's Ventura Developments wants to build on the southeast corner of Harrow Street and McMillan Avenue.

Winnipeg's planning department supports the development. But in November, council's City Centre community committee rejected the project, partly because area councillor John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) considers it a bad precedent for the neighbourhood. 

That led Ventura vice-president Tim Comack to launch an unusual public campaign to get the condos approved, attempting to portray his project as precisely the sort of infill development the city claims to desire as a means of increasing density.

He partly succeeded Monday, as Couns. Shawn Dobson (St. Charles) and Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) voted in favour of the project, while Orlikow and Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) opposed it. 

The hung vote means council's executive policy committee has the next crack at approving the project.

Given the quasi-judicial nature of the November hearing, Orlikow is not able to comment about the project outside of the committee room.

On Monday, he asked Winnipeg planner Braden Smith how such a large development could be supported by city planning staff in a residential neighbourhood.

"I didn't agree with the department on this one and that's my right," said Orlikow, asking how so much density could be approved.  "There are ways to improve density that are not driven by a developer's need to make money."

Smith said the proposed project is not unusually dense and noted it would back up against an even taller commercial development that fronts on Corydon Avenue.

"It is an established five-storey commercial building, contiguous to the proposed development," Smith said.

Comack said he was pleased to see the hung vote and noted Mayor Brian Bowman's inner circle has an interesting decision in front of them.

About the Author

Bartley Kives

Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Reporter Bartley Kives joined CBC Manitoba in 2016. Prior to that, he spent three years at the Winnipeg Sun and 18 at the Winnipeg Free Press, writing about politics, music, food and outdoor recreation. He's the author of the Canadian bestseller A Daytripper's Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada's Undiscovered Province and co-author of both Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg and Stuck In The Middle 2: Defining Views of Manitoba. His work has also appeared in publications such as the Guardian and Explore magazine.