Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Kayong Barracks Part 1
Pictures from the Free Press and other sources of the Kapyong Barracks.
The Kapyong Barracks look to be tied up for some time to come. The judge was not about to transfer the land to First Nations for free. Quite rightly, he said there was a price to be paid for it.
The question of whether the First Nations have a right to the land is in question. It seems there is a debate over "surplus land" versus "strategic land". I don't know how that will be distinguished but it is what the federal court will be hearing in September.
It is a long wait from 2004 to now to decide the fate of this large piece of land.
My suspicions is that Real Canadian Superstore on east side of Kenaston at Grant has had its eyes on moving across the street. It is probably why they have delayed renovations as long as they have. This year, with no prospect of moving soon, the store manager says millions will be spent to improve the dowdy store. The Tuxedo Safeway has also recently gone through a renovation. My guess is that they too were thinking Kapyong might be a desirable location.
Kapyong Barracks has developers all over town and First Nations drooling about the possibilities.
Some have lobbied for the First Nations to take the land such a Don Marks. Ironically, he said the people should not give in to bleeding hearts and let the houses be used for social housing since it would not be temporary.
The irony is that his own bleeding heart doesn't take into consideration whether First Nations even have a right to the land. He just assumes they do.
Setting aside the dispute for the moment, there are a number of things that need to be addressed before developing the land.
The first pressing need is on transportation. There have been plans put forward in regards to Route 90/Kensaton. There is already opposition to what was introduced. No one wants their house expropriated. Some people claim there isn't a problem to begin with. That is a little hard to reconcile with traffic backed up from the St. James Bridge to the McGillivray at all times of the day. The special timers that Sam Katz trumpeted failed working shortly after installation.
The Ikea development and Waverley West will continue to put pressure on the narrow Route 90 roadway. It seems obvious that three lanes in each direction with far better left and right turning lanes is necessary. Having timers on lights would also be an improvement.
Getting traffic to move more smoothly is just one aspect of what to do with Kapyong and the associated military housing. The next steps are how to ensure that bike paths and side-walks are part of the plan.
It is unfortunate that the city did not take a harder line on making the abandoned rail line that runs parallel to Kenaston a bike path. Too many neighbors protested it. What has ended up happening is that commercial businesses on Grant, Academy and elsewhere have expanded into the rail's abandoned property. A condo development has taken form in the empty space at Corydon.
No chance for a bike path, bus route or anything else now. I suppose many of the neighbors figured with the rail gone, they would have a green space for free behind their house. They generally have opposed any development proposed for the narrow strip.
There seems little chance that opposition to widening Kenaston will stop it from happening. Still it would be good to know if a strip of land off Kapyong could be used to get the project going now rather than ten years from now.