Local News Briefs

City on hook for $7M if development deal falls through: CFO

City council has agreed to backstop a loan to the redevelopment project of the Fort Rouge Yards that includes the creation of a 900-unit townhouse, condominium and commercial development. However, if the developer backs out during the condo construction phase, Winnipeg taxpayers could be on the line for $7 million, chief financial officer Mike Ruta told the Winnipeg Free Press. Mayor Sam Katz claims there is virtually no risk to Winnipeggers by supporting the redevelopment project. Katz said if the circumstance arose, the city could buy out another lender and sell the property, avoiding the $7 million strain on taxpayers.

Aqua Books finds new home

Winnipeg’s beloved second-hand bookstore, Aqua Books, is heading for a change of scenery. After spending only five years at their Garry Street location, and being forced to change its business plan to continue operating, the bookstore is returning to its roots in the Exchange District. Aqua Books will open in a smaller building at 123 Princess St. - only one block from their previous location in the Exchange. Owner Kelly Hughes told the Winnipeg Free Press that the challenge of achieving a similar atmosphere in the smaller space has sparked his creativity.

Committee nullifies public consultation

Citizens who turned up at City Hall last week to express concern over the fate of Winnipeg’s publicly owned golf courses were turned away by an administrative snafu. The group showed up at council’s property committee meeting Feb. 14, however, the committee struck the report that called for public consultations on the matter. Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) said the committee doesn’t have the authority to implement public consultations, the Winnipeg Free Press reported. Recently, after learning several city-owned golf courses had acquired reasonably large debts, the city conveyed interest in the possibility of selling or relinquishing the lease to a third party.

Sinclair inquiry gets green light

The Phoenix Sinclair inquiry will proceed as planned. Manitoba Court of Appeal judge Martin Freedman dismissed a legal challenge by the government union that the Manitoba government didn’t have the authority to call a public inquiry into the death of five-year-old Sinclair, the Winnipeg Free Press reported. Sinclair was killed by her mother and stepfather in 2005. The inquiry, set for May, will examine why it took government social workers more than nine months to realize Sinclair was missing, despite being recently returned to her birth mother.

Bomber brass, players tussle over free agency losses

Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive backs Jonathan Hefney and Deon Beasley have taken to Twitter to voice their frustrations with Blue Bomber brass. The team members questioned the team’s failure to resign receiver Gregg Carr, offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte and defensive lineman Don Oramasionwu before the CFL free agency. The players were considered by many to be the Bombers most important players to lock up. General Manager Joe Mack wasn’t impressed with the players’ decision to voice their opinions about the club publicly via the social network. Mack found it unprofessional, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

Published in Volume 66, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 22, 2012)

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