Protesters call on government to save Winnipeg's Parker Lands from development
Gem Equities plans to build 1700 housing units on 20 acres of Parker Lands
Protesters gathered outside Holiday Inn on Pembina Highway Wednesday where developers hosted an open house to show the community how they plan to transform the Parker Lands into a mixed-use residential area.
- Developer planned for thousands of housing units on Parker Land
- Province orders Winnipeg to study BRT impact on Parker Lands
Eight to 10 per cent of the Parker Lands' forest will be saved in the plan but that does not satisfy conservationist Cal Dueck.
"Green spaces are so important for a city and here we are ... destroying one of the class-A forests in Winnipeg," said Dueck, who co-chairs the Parker Wetlands Conservation Committee.
The group is currently lobbying all three levels of government to set aside the Parker Lands as an ecological reserve.
"If this gets destroyed we can never get it back," said Dueck. Aspen forest, wetlands, and prairie grasses are all present in the Parker Lands, he said.
Development architect Lawrence Bird insist that some of the treed areas will be maintained in the new development.
"We are going to be saving some of the green space. We're going to be conserving a park," said development architect Lawrence Bird.
"The city is also going to be building a retention basin which will have a naturalized edge," said Bird, who believes the basin will resemble a wetland.
Twenty acres of Parker Lands is owned by developer, Gem Equities, the remaining 22 acres was expropriated by the city for drainage.
Gem equities has met with Hydro, Winnipeg Transit and stakeholders in the neighbourhood, said project manager Geoff Zywina.
Gem has hired a consultant to do an environmental assessment on the Parker Lands that will include a survey of the species potentially affected by development, said Zywina.
Construction on the Parker Lands is set to begin sometime before 2019.
With files from Erin Brohman.