Corydon Avenue business owners want to know why they’re being left out of the information loop.
Early last month, the City of Winnipeg approved a controversial Harvey’s drive-thru at the intersection of Corydon Avenue and Stafford Street.
The plans for the drive-thru were opposed by both Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge East Fort Garry) and Corydon Avenue residents alike.
This comes only months after the city’s October approval of $100,000 to get the ball rolling on a new neighbourhood plan after the original was quashed due to business owners’ concerns.
Last summer, Corydon business owners were involved in a heated battle with Gerbasi and city planners over the secondary plan, which they said would assign more rules and regulations in the area and hinder the growth of the neighbourhood.
Now that the city is gearing up for a new neighbourhood plan, business owners are concerned they’re going to continue to be left out of the planning process.
Daniel Madrid, who owns Thrive Nutrition and Wellness, located at 755 Corydon Ave., believes that he is viewed as just a tenant with no say as to what’s going to happen on the street.
“It’s frustrating (because) everything that happens to the street does have an immediate effect on the business,” Madrid said.
He believes the city isn’t keeping Corydon business owners in the loop, and is worried it’s going to continue as the new plan comes into play.
While he feels he has no control in what the city decides for the fate of the neighbourhood, he wants to be kept informed on the decisions being made, and at least be able to voice his concerns.
“They want to beautify Corydon without taking into account how it’s going to affect me,” Madrid said.
Nick Katiniaris, who owns Niko’s, a Greek restaurant located at 740 Corydon Ave., echoes Madrid’s sentiments.
“If they have any sort of plans for the area, I’d really like to hear it,” Katiniaris said. “It’s very easy to be kept in the loop and I haven’t been. I’m not sure why.”
However, Katiniaris realizes the neighbourhood needs a revival.
Corydon Avenue isn’t the same street it was 10 years ago, and simply adding decor isn’t going to cut it, he said, adding the city needs to come up with ideas to increase public presence in the neighbourhood, and share these ideas with the business owners.
“I don’t know what will bring people back, which is what made (the street) in the first place. Any ideas that the (city) has, I would really like to hear (them) and I haven’t been,” Katiniaris said.
Gerbasi says the intention of the new planning process is to be as inclusive as possible for everyone in the neighbourhood - business owners and residents alike - and it was the intent of the initial plan as well.
“There will be a number of opportunities for public input, including businesses, residents and anyone else who is interested. The plan is about (ensuring) everyone gets heard,” Gerbasi said.
The reason business owners haven’t heard anything about the new plan is a consultant is yet to be hired, she said.
Gerbasi is unsure when a consultant will be hired or when the new planning process will begin.
Published in Volume 67, Number 18 of The Uniter (January 30, 2013)