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Local
Residents voice fear for their homes during open house on city project
$columnist.title By: Ashley Prest
Posted: 01/19/2016 10:20 PM | Comments: 6

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David Jopling (left) explains some of the options involved in the expansion of the William R. Clement Parkway at an open house and informational session in Charleswood Tuesday.
PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

David Jopling (left) explains some of the options involved in the expansion of the William R. Clement Parkway at an open house and informational session in Charleswood Tuesday. Purchase Photo Print

Craig and Kristen Enns will see their dream home bulldozed if one of the proposed options involved in the William R. Clement Parkway Extension project comes to pass.

If the first of three concepts on the table for the realignment of Wilkes Avenue is selected, their Liberty Street home — still under construction — is in the way.

The young couple was among a steady stream of area residents who attended the public open house regarding the William R. Clement Parkway Extension study Tuesday evening at the Charleswood United Church.

"Just recently we went through the process of getting approval from the City of Winnipeg to build our house. We do get the green light to go ahead, construction begins and then we see this document," Craig Enns said. "If this were to go ahead, it (their house) would be expropriated. It would be demolished. It’s crazy. It’s irresponsible."

Craig and Kristen, along with several other residents of their street and area, spoke at length while seated at a table with two city officials. The young couple is now more worried than excited for their new home.

"We were hoping to move in the spring. It becomes very difficult to keep moving forward with this in the back of our minds," Craig said.

Another man nearby spoke up.

"We just finished building and it’s going to go through our property. We’re your neighbours to the west," the man told Craig and Kristen.

The city had easels set up around the perimeter of the church’s hall with tables in the middle where citizens could fill out surveys and fill in forms to provide feedback. About a dozen city representatives were on hand to answer questions from community members.

"The William R. Clement Parkway is an important north-south link in west Winnipeg and it’s one step closer to completing the inner ring road, which is a strategic road network planned in the council-approved Transportation Master Plan from 2011," said Scott Suderman, a transportation facilities planning engineer with the city. "A road of this nature allows a lot of opportunity for economic development and recreational development as well. We have trails, walking, cycling, dog park — all of that is included as part of this project."

There was both enthusiasm and concerns regarding four proposals for a new off-leash dog park as the extension will cut through the existing dog park. The city has put forward four options for a new park in the area, with two of those being larger than the existing one.

Sandy Kluka said the fourth option, an eight-acre green space backing onto Ridgewood Avenue, looks the best but needs to be fenced.

"I’m at the dog park at least five times a week, it’s very popular. The users that go regularly are incredible about trying to keep it clean and sharing bags," said Kluka, an area resident since 1982 who takes her golden retriever to the park. "It’s very important to those of us who are pet owners, but it also helps people who don’t want dogs on their street all the time. It gives the dogs a place to go. We need a lot of space but we need parking and we need it to be fenced for the safety of the dogs."

While the extension will also cut across the Harte Trail recreation path, the two proposed solutions of either an overpass or underpass for pedestrians and cyclists drew positive reactions.

"I’m concerned about the water table because we already get water on the trail. In the winter it could be a really dangerous place with ice, so the overpass looks to be more sensible," said Russ Mutcher, a cyclist who said he uses the trail frequently.

Kevin Nichols, an area resident for 22 years, said he is involved with Citizens for Charleswood Habitat Preservation community group and they are monitoring the plans for the extension to try to minimize habitat destruction.

"We want to make sure there’s some attention. There’s an awful lot of wildlife here, for them to have the greenways and not have excessive deer strikes. That already happens at Wilkes," Nichols said. "There is a lot of disruption to the neighbourhood. Last fall (for housing development), they bulldozed a tall grass prairie that was home to an at-risk species of bird."

The study, intended by the City of Winnipeg to guide the implementation of the project, will still go through several more phases before shovels hit the ground, including a second public open house tentatively scheduled for this summer.

City officials said a construction start date for the extension has not been set and declined to say what the project’s cost would be, pending the expected completion of the study this fall.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER

William R. Clement Parkway Extension study alignment considerations

Accommodate emergency vehicle and truck access

Accommodate access for local businesses

Enhance safety for all users

Address environmental concerns

Identify potential dog park locations

Grade separate the CN Mainline

Accommodate the Harte Trail

Link to Wilkes Avenue (or an alternative east-west connection)

Meet the design criteria requirements

Accommodate Winnipeg Transit

The city is encouraging feedback on the project and is inviting the public to view the study’s information boards by going here

source: City of Winnipeg


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