Local News Briefs

Bay redevelopment plan top secret

Winnipeg’s CentreVenture Development Corp. has drafted a redevelopment strategy for the beleaguered Bay building downtown, but is keeping its documents under wraps. CentreVenture CEO Ross McGowan told the Winnipeg Free Press about the existence of the report. However, it remains secret because of the financial information it contains that could “compromise future negotiations” on the building’s redevelopment and “how much the province would be on the hook for paying for it,” the Free Press reports. The Hudson’s Bay Company is looking to shut down the money-losing store; however, McGowan says he asked the company to delay its decision on the matter until CentreVenture, the city and province could finalize a redevelopment plan. The 560,000 square foot building is valued at $14.3 million, according to the city. It’s estimated each of the building’s six floors needs about $8 million in renovation work to bring the building up to code. McGowan revealed part of the The Bay Redevelopment Strategy includes ideas for redesigning the building, one of which includes gutting its interior while keeping its façade.

Councillor calls for EPC changes

A Winnipeg city councillor is calling for changes to city council’s executive policy committee (EPC), the Winnipeg Sun reports. A month after Mayor Sam Katz punted her from the committee, Coun. Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) has filed a motion asking for a report investigating municipal council structures across Canada that ensures councillors have equal input. Havixbeck believes the executive policy committee, colloquially known as the “mayor’s cabinet,” creates two tiers of councillors, with those who sit on EPC given more clout and input on city matters than those who do not. In recent budget deliberations, Havixbeck was a vocal critic of numerous expenditures, including a nearly four per cent property tax increase and increases to councillors’ ward allowances while grants to non-profits and museums were significantly reduced. Katz said he removed Havixbeck for purportedly flip-flopping on the issues. She was replaced by St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes. Her motion was referred to EPC.

Esplanade Sophie

A St. Boniface bistro is being eyed for the Esplanade Riel, the CBC reports. According to a city report, Chez Sophie Bistro has been selected to replace the Salisbury House on the pedestrian bridge. Its five-year lease will start April 1, if approved by city council, the report notes. Chez Sophie, which opened in 2005 at Avenue de la Cathédrale and Langevin Street, will be required to have “bilingual menus and signage, and bilingual staff during the summer months,” according to the report. Salisbury House had been operating in the space for seven years before the city decided not to renew its lease and put out an expression of interest on the site. The city received three proposals, including one from Salisbury House. Promenade Bistro, another St. Boniface restaurant, also applied.

Published in Volume 67, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 6, 2013)

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