Kapyong Barracks court battle nears end: Winnipeggers react

Some Winnipeggers living near the Kapyong Barracks are relieved to hear a years-old court battle over the former military site is ending, meaning the property could soon be redeveloped.

Federal government won't appeal court decision on former military site near Kenaston Boulevard

Kapyong Barracks court decision won't be appealed, says Stephen Harper

7 years ago
Duration 2:14
Manitoba First Nation leaders say they're pleased to hear that a court battle with the federal government over Kapyong Barracks, a hotly contested piece of real estate in Winnipeg, could soon be over

Some Winnipeggers living near the Kapyong Barracks are relieved to hear a years-old court battle over the former military site is ending, meaning the property could soon be redeveloped.

The federal government is not appealing a court decision that said Ottawa had failed to consult First Nations about the future development of the barracks site.

Instead, government officials are meeting with First Nations leaders and will continue to do so, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper told reporters in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
The Department of National Defence declared the 64-hectare site on Kenaston Boulevard as surplus 11 years ago and it has essentially been tied up in legal disputes since then. (CBC)

CBC News asked about 30 people in the area on Tuesday evening what they thought of the latest development in the Kapyong saga. The majority said they did not have an opinion or they didn't want to comment.

Those who did have something to say were relieved to hear an end is in sight for the drawn-out court battle over the land.

"I'm just glad someone is doing something with the land," said Zach Vanderhooft, who lives in the area.

"It's been sitting there empty for so long. I don't care what you do with it, just do something."

Said Wayne Ritcher, who also lives in the area, "I think it is about time. Long, long, long overdue.

"Kenaston as a roadway is frankly a disaster, and every time you drive by all of those empty buildings," he added.

Potential for urban reserve 'pretty exciting'

A group of Treaty 1 First Nations have been pursuing the 64-hectare property on Kenaston Boulevard for over a decade, in the hopes of converting the prime real estate into an urban reserve.

Under the decision, the government has a duty to consult, which means an urban reserve is a step closer to becoming a possibility, First Nation leaders say.

First Nation leaders said they could not say how much they would pay for the land. The top priority of an urban reserve would be to allow for the widening of Kenaston Boulevard, said Chief Dennis Meeches of the Long Plain First Nation.

Some said it's a good idea to give First Nations an opportunity to find a purpose for the Kapyong property.

"It's their country as well as mine — whatever they want. If it's justified, go ahead, see if you can do it," said resident Gail Coyston.

When asked what she would like to see on the Kapyong land, Coyston said there should be more residences.

"They need residence. They have nothing here," she said. "There is tons of businesses around there; they don't need that. Parks, residences, go ahead."

Area resident Jen Doerksen said she likes the potential for a new urban reserve.

"I have a lot of friends who are indigenous and what have you, and they talk about having to get more economically involved, and I think being in the middle of the city would help with that," she said.

"That's pretty exciting."


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