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The new development in city’s southwest
Jan 27, 2006

Take your fitness and health seriously by moving into the first neighbourhood in Waverley West. 

The provincial government, through the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation, is in charge of bringing forward and implementing the first neighbourhood in Waverley West.

They want to see Manitobans have better access to walking trails, bike paths, open spaces where people can get in motion, and have accessible public transportation so they are less reliant on the automobile.

The Northeast Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan, developed by local planning firm ND Lea on behalf of MHRC, offers plenty of opportunity for walking in wide open park spaces and on structured paths. There will be a series of bike and walking trails along and over a planned stream running through the neighbourhood that will also act as a land drainage system. There will be sidewalks along both sides of residential streets and close proximity by every residence to a bus stop. 

The plan also includes higher density residential close to the Town Centre which will be developed in a future phase of Waverley West. This Town Centre district will include commercial, residential, institutional and recreational use.  

One of the principles is connectivity (something today we tend to associate more with technology than a residential development). This is emphasized to ensure residents and visitors can link well with the green space systems, transit, and future neighbourhoods within the larger Waverley West catchment area. 

The province is also interested in supporting environmental design options through the possibility of offering geo-thermal heating and passive solar heating. 

Part of the environmental focus will also be to protect existing natural areas from development and enhance ecological habitats.

The provincial government is committed to using the profits from developing the land it owns in the northern half of Waverley West (Ladco owns the southern half) for reinvestment in inner-city housing.  There have already been some promising signs of the government’s effort through its affordable housing initiative and the work of the Winnipeg Housing and Homelessness Initiative (WHHI) to revitalize and reinvigorate housing in inner-city neighbourhoods.

Another important aspect of the up to 11,000 new single-family and multi-family units to be built over 20 years in Waverley West is addressing the residential land shortage in Winnipeg, especially in the southwest quadrant of the city where there has been strong public demand.

Over a year ago, the Winnipeg Real Estate Board came out strongly in favour of the city approval for the rezoning of the Waverley West land to residential because of the need for more serviced land for housing. How else will we accommodate a growing population and meet the needs of increased immigration to our city? People need choice and options. 

Supply of new lots is one of the critical components of addressing housing demand. It also helps alleviate the pressure on existing resale house prices which in the past three years have gone up significantly. As a result, Winnipeg is becoming a less affordable place to live. This is amplified when you consider how high property taxes are in this city compared to other major markets across the country. 

 Interest rates are also starting to edge upwards which impacts new home buyers taking out large mortgages to pay for these more expensive homes.

A formal public hearing will not be held on this 360-acre neighbourhood plan until the overall Waverley West regional plan is approved later this year. 

The development encompasses 3,000 acres. 

Like other innovative neighbourhood developments that have preceded Waverley West, its feasibility and unit cost will ultimately be determined by the discerning home buyer. As the process goes through its required steps, let’s hope everyone can move forward on this new and exciting development with some degree of urgency, given the shortage of new lots in the southwest quadrant of the city. The end result will be a benefit to all Winnipeggers.