Manitoba

City averts another Parker lands battle by dropping objection to development plan

City planners have averted another fight with the developer of the Parker lands by reversing course and allowing a housing plan to proceed to the public-hearing stage.

'The city is obviously in damage-control mode,' lawyer for developer Andrew Marquess says

Developer Andrew Marquess, left, and lawyer Kevin Toyne claim the city is dragging its heels when it comes to the development of the Parker lands. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

City planners have averted another fight with the developer of the Parker lands by reversing course and allowing a housing plan to proceed to the public-hearing stage.

On Monday, Winnipeg chief planner Braden Smith told city council's property committee his department no longer objects to the idea of a hearing about a development known as Fulton Grove, proposed by Andrew Marquess and his company Gem Equities.

The development would see 1,740 housing units rise on a triangle of land bordered by the next leg of the Southwest Transitway to the south, the CNR Rivers main line to the north and the Winnipeg Humane Society property to the west.

In April, planners suggested the proposal contravened city guidelines for development near bus-rapid-transit stations. That led Marquess to accuse area councillor John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) of opposing the project, trying to force the sale of some of the land and siding with protestors who oppose the development.​

An appeal hearing about the city's refusal to allow the project to proceed was halted in April after Marquess lawyer Kevin Toyne asked Orlikow to recuse himself.

The appeal was rescheduled for Monday, but did not take place after planner Smith stated the city no longer objects to a proposal coming forward.

Toyne, however, complained the city has been dragging its heels on this development.

"The city is obviously in damage-control mode and they're certainly doing what they can to make this problem go away," the lawyer said.

"There seems to be no bylaw, policy or procedure the city won't violate when it comes to this project."

Marquess said he will resubmit his plans for the area. No date for a public hearing has been set.

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