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Shaftesbury luxury apartment development project faces rejection

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The signs are scattered in the sprawling front yards of homes along Shaftesbury Boulevard.

‘Single-family homes only’ and ‘No apartment blocks’ are among the messages aimed at passers-by, an effort by a group of area residents to prevent a proposed luxury apartment complex from being built across the street.

Cheryl MacInnis has lived on Shaftesbury Boulevard for over 20 years. She is among the group of residents who have put up signs against the development.

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“First of all, it’s completely out of place in our neighborhood,” he said.

The proposed plans at 490 Shaftesbury Blvd. would see three high-end luxury rental buildings erected on the land, replacing the current single-family home that was built in 1978 and still stands there today, most recently operating as a nursing home.

The plans show a six-story building with 22 units, a five-story building with 20 units, and a four-story building with 16 units, along with connected underground parking.

A rendering shows a proposed luxury apartment development in the Shaftesbury area (Photo submitted: Private Pension Partners)

“It just doesn’t have any cohesiveness with the neighborhood. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the houses across the street, or further back in the neighborhood,” MacInnis told CTV News.

The land in question adjoins the Tuxedo golf course and Canada Mennonite University. It was recently acquired by the real estate management firm Private Pension Partners, which is looking to refurbish it.

For development to move forward, the land, which is currently zoned as park and recreation land, must be rezoned for multi-family residential use, another concern for residents who fear the development will cause increased traffic and replace green parks with apartments. blocks

Residents aren’t the only ones concerned: Canadian Mennonite University has spoken out against it. In delegations to the city, the university said the development is inconsistent with the university’s provincial heritage site designation that includes protected views of its castle-like building.

The pushback comes as no surprise to Donovan Toews, managing partner at Landmark Planning and Design, the project’s planning firm.

“Any time practically something new is proposed in an existing neighborhood, that’s what infill development is, it can be quite a challenge,” Toews said. “People are pretty concerned about changes in their neighborhood, and that’s fair enough.”

Toews said the city’s new infill guidelines are part of the reason the developer has set its sights on this land.

In June 2021, the city adopted new infill guidelines outlining a goal for infill development to account for 50 percent of all new construction in existing built-up areas of the city.

“We see cities evolve over time, and that inevitably means something is going to change around someone at some point,” Toews said. “We need that open mindset if we’re going to grow in Winnipeg.”

However, Councilman Kevin Klein (Charleswood – Tuxedo – Westwood) said this is not the type of infill housing he thinks the city needs.

“It’s like taking a round stick and trying to put it in a square opening, it doesn’t fit in that neighborhood,” he said. “This is not the kind of infill that will move our city forward. This is the kind of infill that will create what you’re seeing now: division, pushback, challenges.”

A sign reading “No Apartment Blocks” is seen on Shaftesbury Boulevard. Neighborhood residents protest a proposed luxury apartment development in the area (CTV News Photo Danton Unger)

There’s one thing both MacInnis and Toews agree on: For residents who want to maintain the status quo and a developer who isn’t interested in building single-family homes, they’re unlikely to find common ground between them.

“We’re definitely not against density,” MacInnis said. “We just don’t feel like this is the right place for it. There’s nothing like it around here.”

Private Pension Partners declined an interview request, saying: “As a private company, we have no further comment.”

Applications for the development received first reading at the council in May. While the applications still require a second and third reading, Klein said they may face an appeal or challenge.

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