Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Zoning keeps Higgins Avenue an eyesore

A century ago, a lack of zoning was detriminental to Point Douglas, when loud and smokey industry encroaching on its established residential areas. Today, too much zoning is what impedes the neighborhood.

As the CBC reported today, Wayne Imirie, the man who has owned the gutted Able Wholesale building at Higgins and Annabella Street since last summer, was planning to restore it and "develop it into housing, renting the first two floors to businesses and renovating the top floors into condos, one of them his own home...

"If you're on the fourth floor, you have a perfect view of the river. You just see right across and see the whole river. It's beautiful," he said."
CBC Manitoba - "Long after fire, charred eyesore ignites complaints"

What stopped Mr. Imirie, the story said, was the munincipal zoning that the Albe Warehouse site, and much of South Point Douglas is under, which doesn't allow for such innapropriate uses of historical buildings such as condos.

Maybe if Russ Wyatt (and other Winnipeggers who Drive By That Building Every Day®) are so disgusted by this hulking building, they should demand that the City's Property, Planning and Development department start removing the antiquated M2 (Manufacturing) zoning that this part of Point Douglas is under. This may be slightly less counterproductive than the same old north vs. south, suburbs vs. inner city grandstand politics, of which the nauseatingly populist Councillor Russ Wyatt is the worst offender.

Under M2 zoning, Higgins Avenue, and the prime riverfront land to the south of it, will only continue to go unexploited. Waterfront Drive will be ineffective in spuring retail and residential development, because retail and residential uses will be illegal. Higgins Avenue will continue to be nothing more than it is today: a decrepit expressway to Transcona, lined with scrapyards, tow truck firms, U-storage lots, and other uses that Planning, Property and Development find suitable for the area.


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