Ironclad Development in Bridgwater Center
Over the past 6+ years, many of us have watched Bridgwater Centre’s multi-family residential and commercial developments rise up. I remember the thrill of the Co-op opening – the very first business in the area! And the largest crane in Western Canada construct the Street Side Condos – one of the tallest residential complexes in Bridgwater (7 stories). Altea Fitness Centre and the Mormon Temple and Meeting Hall are under construction. Businesses are moving into the strip malls. Lots is happening – and is continuing to happen in this planned community.
And it is important to note this is a ‘planned community’.
For those that are not aware –Bridgwater Town Centre has a Town Centre Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan that is a more detailed level of planning than the broader Waverley West Area Structure Plan. The Town Centre plan/guiding document ensures the growth and development occurs in a logical and integrated manner, within the context of adjacent neighbourhoods, and within the context of the City as a whole. The Town Centre Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan was adopted by Council in 2010, and is used as the guiding document in development of the area and is built upon the following guiding principles:
- Creation of a unique and innovative neighbhourhood form
- Integration of a variety of residential uses that will support the commercial area
- Establish a pedestrian environment through the application of high quality building and streetscaping design
- Providing connectivity to the adjacent neighborhoods and other areas of the city.
This past fall I met with Jim Gallagher, former development manager under contract to Manitoba Housing responsible for the Bridgwater Communities development, and Paul McNeil, the lead planner and project manager for Waverley West and the Bridgwater neighbourhoods. We discussed the vison of the Neighbhourhoods of Bridgwater, and the importance of adhering to the Town Centre Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan. Two key factors Mr Gallagher and McNeil stressed for Center Street developments was the importance to ensure the projected density was adhered to, and that commercial units were included on the ground level floors of development on Centre Street.
Last month, an application for the first commercial / residential unit on Centre Street came forward. Note – there are many commercial only – and residential only – units on Centre Street (the malls, Rise Condominiums, etc.) but this application was for the first COMBINED commercial/residential unit. A large sign went up on the property, just south of the Royal Bank and I had a few calls from residents inquiring about the zoning variations and density and the commercial aspect. Residents were concerned about the variances and density being proposed. Initially I was too as I wanted to ensure this project was in keeping with the long term vision set out in 2010. After much research, combing through the Town Centre Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan and discussions with residents and City planners, I was confident the proposed development was in keeping with the original intent and plans. The new unit will be:
- 6 stories
- provide up to 13 commercial units, with floor areas ranging in size from 793 square feet to 1,943 square feet.
- provide 149 residential dwelling units on the upper floors of the building. Residential units will be a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom rental apartments, which range in size from 531 square feet to 1,003 square feet
- provide 228 parking spots, under and above ground
- for complete details, see Plan Approval 0 Centre Street
Recently we had a Block Party on Centre Street and the street was alive with people and activity! With increased population and new businesses, Centre Street will naturally become a hub of activity like we experienced at the Block Party! I’m told ALL the remaining properties on Centre Street are now sold and I can only imagine what we will see happening over the next four years!!
If you have ANY questions or concerns, feel free to contact me! I anticipate this new development will be starting this summer.
QUESTIONS SURROUNDING THE NEW RESIDENTIAL/COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT
The City of Winnipeg is working from 2006 zoning by laws – the by-laws have not been updated since 2006 to meet the proposed standards set out in these two policy documents for Bridgwater:
Because the zoning by-laws are out of date to the policy documents, VARIANCES are virtually always required to the 2006 zoning by laws to meet the ‘look and feel’ of Town Centre Secondary Plan and Waverley West Area Structure Plan ( FYI – in 2006 it cost upwards of $2M to update zoning by laws – and City needs to invest in updating again – till then, applying variances ensure developments meet desired plans).
- If you look at the Bridgwater Centre video produce in you will see that businesses / buildings are right on sidewalk – just like the businesses are now on Centre Street – there is no set back like say the mall on Pembina (where Miller’s Meats is).
- To keep the same look and feel as in the video – the 2006 zoning by law set back have to be ‘varied’ so it will be very pedestrian friendly.
- The density set out in the two policy documents (Town Centre, Waverley West) state that there should be a MINIMUM of 10 units per developable acre in the Town Centre. Right now, the development in Bridgwater Town Centre have 9 units per developable acre (does not include all that is yet to be constructed) NOTE: in the documents a MINIMUM set out is 10 units per developable acre – meaning lots more density can be added.
- For example, the town homes on Park East and Park West could have accommodated much more density ( 1,250 sq. feet per dwelling unit ) but what ACTUALLY was constructed is 3,506 sq. ft/dwelling unit. Townhomes COULD HAVE been developed with three times more density (sq. ft per dwelling unit) according to the zoning and policy set out – but wasn’t. Units could have been 3 stories high. FYI – just because something is ‘zoned’ for higher density, doesn’t mean it has to occur. Just that it can occur, all dependent on market conditions. This low density allows for increased density on Centre Street units.
A shadow study was done in the report: http://clkapps.winnipeg.ca/DMIS/permalink.asp?id=A20190529(RM)BA-13 (pg. 39) and the planners are recommending the 17 ft over the current zoning.