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Rezoning of farmland to make way for CentrePort

Revamping the zoning regime in the RM of Rosser to allow for CentrePort development is now underway and will likely see about 445 hectares of land changed from largely agricultural to industrial use.

An open house and public-design review was held this week as part of the process that will allow for industrial development within the CentrePort lands that fall within the RM of Rosser.

The area designated for the first zoning update -- north and south of Inkster Boulevard and west of Brookside Boulevard -- is the most developed to date and the area where there is the most demand from developers.

Bob Brown, CentrePort project co-ordinator for the RM of Rosser, said he was pleased with the results of two meetings held this week each with about 70 to 80 people in attendance.

'The city says it is protected. I don't know what else to say. The land-use plan is to protect that green space. CentrePort has (8,093 hectares). It does not need Little Mountain Park's (65 hectares)'

"We were looking to accomplish two things -- a draft amendment to the current Rosser zoning bylaw to more reflect the CentrePort vision and we wanted to get some recommendations on design standards that could apply in the first instance in the targeted area."

The design standards would not apply to the buildings in the industrial parks north and south of Inkster that have already gone up, but they might eventually become standardized through the CentrePort footprint.

Although there have been concerns expressed that existing green space -- including Little Mountain Park and the Players Golf Course -- would somehow be compromised in the process, officials from the RM of Rosser and CentrePort stressed that would not be the case and they would remain green space.

Brown said Rosser's zoning bylaws have been in place for about 25 years -- most of the land is zoned agriculture or limited agriculture or highway commercial -- and are not suitable for the development that is occurring and contemplated for CentrePort.

"CentrePort is meant to be an industrial development so it's not profound to say we're looking at different categories of industrial zoning," Brown said.

The exercise in establishing a new zoning protocol in the RM of Rosser is part of a larger process to make the whole CentrePort area into a seamless development plan for both the lands in the RM of Rosser and the CentrePort lands that are part of the City of Winnipeg.

"Part of the CentrePort intent is to have planning provisions in place that allow streamlined and efficient administration of the process that's not encumbered by a lot of red tape," Brown said. "We're striving for zoning that is well-defined but easily spelled out and something you could work with without an overabundance of complications in applying it."

When it comes to the green space such as the City of Winnipeg-owned 65-hectare Little Mountain Park, north of the Players Golf Course, there are no plans to rezone that.

Brown said if at some point the City of Winnipeg or the owners of the Players Golf Course decide they want to sell the land, it would have to go to a public hearing process.

People who use the dog park that's within Little Mountain Park have expressed concern that somehow industrial development will encroach on those lands.

But an official from CentrePort said, "The city says it is protected. I don't know what else to say. The land-use plan is to protect that green space. CentrePort has (8,093 hectares). It does not need Little Mountain Park's (65 hectares). It's just not needed."

Brown said the plan is to come back with a draft review of the recommended new zoning bylaws in September for further public consultations with the final product finished in October.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2013 A8

I did an interview with CBC, here is the story.

Will new inland port rid Rosser of its green space?

Green space could be snapped up by industrial development, RM staff say

Posted: Jul 26, 2013 6:28 AM CT

Last Updated: Jul 26, 2013 12:43 PM CT

The city of Winnipeg and CentrePort say Little Mountain Park will be preserved, but an advisor to the RM of Rosser says the land may eventually become far more valuable for industrial development instead. The city of Winnipeg and CentrePort say Little Mountain Park will be preserved, but an advisor to the RM of Rosser says the land may eventually become far more valuable for industrial development instead. (CBC)
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The rural municipality of Rosser is laying out the welcome mat for CentrePort, an inland transportation hub slated to be built in the area.

The RM held open houses this week as it begins the process of re-zoning the land to allow development of the inland port.

Bob Brown, the RM's advisor on CentrePort issues, said more people turned up than were expected, including some people concerned about the future of Little Mountain Park, a green space in the area.

'You're not going to see … golf courses or … dog parks … because that's not what inland ports are all about.'—Bob Brown, advisor to RM of Rosser

Centreport and the city have both said the green space will be preserved, along with Little Mountain Sportsplex and a privately-owned golf course.

But Brown said as CentrePort is developed over the next few decades, the land will likely become more valuable for its commercial and industrial potential.

"If CentrePort is successful, that's the type of use that will predominate in the area," he said. "You're not going to see other typical urban uses probably, including golf courses or recreation areas or dog parks ... because that's not what inland ports are all about."

Brown said it's the market that will eventually decide what CentrePort, a 20,000 acre transportation hub, will look like.

"Nobody is going to be forced to vacate, be it a residence or a dog park. But if CentrePort is successful, the market will eventually probably encourage people to leave because their lands will have more value for development purposes than what they are for current uses, and people will take that option and sell off probably."

He said use of the park may even die off as development progresses.

"You're not necessarily going to be driving ... through an industrial area to get to a spot to walk your dog," he said.

There may even come a day when a golf course in the CentrePort footprint, The Players Course, disappears.

Brown said it's an option any land owner can consider, such as when the city recently mulled selling off John Blumberg golf course in the RM of Headingley.

'The province is going to do what the province is going to do, and there's not a damn thing anybody can do about it.'—Lloyd Johnson

"If ... they are surrounded by viable commercial industrial type activities, and they're in this to make money, then probably at some point they'll say, 'We can make more money selling this off than we can from green fees.'"

Winnipegger Lloyd Johnson attended some of the RM's sessions this week and came away very disappointed.

He said he and others who are worried about Little Mountain Park wanted to have their say but that didn't happen.

"Basically they were not too interested in what we had to say at all," he said.

He said he did talk with officials with the RM of Rosser but that didn't go very far either.

"I got the distinct impression that their hands were tied as well, like the province is going to do what the province is going to do, and there's not a damn thing anybody can do about it," he said.

Johnson said he and others will keep lobbying to assure the park's future.

But he admits it is probably inevitable the park will eventually disappear as CentrePort grows.

"I think it's terrible. I think it's a crime against everybody," he said. "This is a historic area. It should be preserved. It's green space that the city loves to tear up. Anything green they want to plow under, and it'd be just a crime to see this disappear. It's part of the fabric of the city of Winnipeg. We have to protect it."

CentrePort Canada Zoning and Design Standards


The Rural Municipality of Rosser, supported by the Province of Manitoba and with the cooperation of the City of Winnipeg, has hired a team of planning consultants to prepare a zoning framework and design standards to guide development of the first phases of CentrePort Canada.

We are asking the community to get involved in a number of ways. The consultant team ofPlaceMakersMMM Group, and CNT will be conducting interviews in June with selected entities most closely involved with the first phase of CentrePort Canada. We are looking to identify potential opportunities and issues with a zoning framework outline.

Then, in July open houses, we will ask planning officials, the business community, and residents to consider ideas and actions to help guide the RM of Rosser and CentrePort towards a future of increased opportunity. We will gather and refine ideas about subdivision design, connectivity, parcel sizes and uses, as well as the ultimate form and function of the area when fully developed.

We invite the community to three open houses to share your ideas and feedback:

  • Monday, July 22, 4:30-6 pm. This is a community input open house, setting the stage for zoning and design. The planning team will give a summary of the June interviews, and ask for additional public direction on functionality that you would like to see enabled by the new Rosser CentrePort zoning framework. This event will be held at the Community Hall at Grosse Isle, 0117E - PR 321, in the R.M. of Rosser.
  • Thursday, July 25, 5:30-7 pm. The design team will take the combination of Monday's input along with intelligence collected in May and June, and spend the week developing a framework for the CentrePort Design Standards and Phase 1 Stage 1A Zoning Designations. We'll ask the community for direction to refine ideas and provide a mid-course correction. This open house will be held at the Community Hall at Grosse Isle, 0117E - PR 321, in the R.M. of Rosser.
  • During August and September, the planning consultants will be drafting the zoning framework, under the guidance of the Steering Committee. Once the first draft is complete, we will host another open house in the fall for additional community input.

A key guiding principle for CentrePort development is establishing a streamlined and transparent development approval process. This calls for a modern approach to zoning that emphasizes upfront visioning and consultation processes to develop standards that govern basic building form, placement of structures and related components of the built environment with predictable physical outcomes and performance based criteria rather than overly detailed lists of permitted or conditional uses.

The preparation of a form-based zoning framework will accommodate immediate development proposals in Rosser and is intended to also be transferable to future phases of CentrePort development, in both Rosser and Winnipeg. A Steering Committee with representatives from Rosser, Manitoba Local Government, and Winnipeg’s Planning Department is working with the consultant team to provide ongoing professional and technical input throughout the project.

This collaborative effort aligns with The CentrePort Canada Act, which directs the Province and the affected municipalities to develop a singular and comprehensive planning framework to guide CentrePort development.

Check back on this web page for additional information and ongoing updates.

Resources

Planning Consultant Team

For questions or further information, please contact:
Bob Brown
CentrePort Project Coordinator 
Rural Municipality of Rosser
Box 131
Rosser , MB R0H 1E0
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.