January 17, 2017
Redevelopment of the Public Safety Building & Civic Parkade site moves ahead with launch of public engagement process
Engagement project titled “Market Lands” to reflect important history of the site
Released: 10:37 a.m.
Winnipeg, MB - Redevelopment of the land currently occupied by the old Public Safety Building and the structurally deficient Civic Parkade took an important step forward with the launch of “Market Lands”, a comprehensive public engagement process that will seek input from citizens and neighbourhood stakeholders into the redevelopment and revitalization of this important site Mayor Brian Bowman announced today.
“Building and renewing Winnipeg’s downtown continues to be a priority for me, and I want to continue investing in a downtown where residents can live, work, play, and enjoy many of the benefits residents in other parts of our city enjoy,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “I believe this area represents a tremendous opportunity for our city to further refine and renew the Exchange District, to reconnect the East and West Exchanges, and build a downtown Winnipeg we can continue to be proud of.”
Throughout the coming year, CentreVenture Development Corporation will lead a public engagement process together with the City of Winnipeg’s Office of Public Engagement that will undertake a host of engagement activities including stakeholder interviews, focus groups, public open houses, design charettes, and other events aimed at creating the vision and guiding principles for the future redevelopment of these important lands.
“This site has such a rich history in the formation of Winnipeg,” said Angela Mathieson, CEO, CentreVenture Development Corporation. “As we look to the future we have an incredible opportunity to reflect on this past and create a new vision for the site, one that embraces and connects together the emerging assets around the site.”
The 2.4 acre site, the “Market Lands,” was an important hub of commerce and trade, home to Winnipeg’s civic market building and square in the late 1800s. Converted to civic offices in the 1920s and the Public Safety Building and Civic Parkade in the 1960s, the site is now central to many of Winnipeg's historical, cultural, and community assets including The Exchange District, City Hall, Chinatown, Red River College, Innovation Alley, and numerous arts organizations.
The Civic Parkade has been closed indefinitely since structural deficiencies were identified in August 2012.
An external evaluation of strategic alternatives for the Public Safety Building undertaken by Deloitte in December 2015 made it clear the current state of the Public Safety Building, as well as the limitations of the structure and exterior cladding, made it unsuitable for a significant and costly restoration project.
The Deloitte report indicated that the restoration of the Public Safety Building would not better meet the needs of the City, would not better contribute to downtown revitalization priorities, and would not provide value above and beyond other alternatives. The Deloitte report concluded these limitations, along with an associated high cost of restoration, combined to make a strong case in favor of demolition which Council approved in April, 2016.
“With input and engagement with the community, I believe we will be able to transform this site into something that makes our downtown an even better place,” said Mayor Bowman.
Citizens, area residents as well as local businesses and organizations are encouraged to get involved and learn more about the engagement process by participating and registering at the website, www.centreventure.com, where the full public engagement plan and additional information on the process are also available.
Attending today’s launch were fourth-year students from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. As part of their curriculum and course work, CentreVenture sponsored the students over the last semester allowing them to explore and study the site to help illustrate the many different ways redevelopment of the site could be approached. The students’ work will be publicly displayed on the main floor of the Public Administration Building January 18-19.
“The students did a wonderful job as part of their course work of illustrating the many different ways this site could be used,” said Mathieson. “I am looking forward to engaging with the community to identify and bring forward an urban design framework for Council’s review that will reimagine and bring this site back to life.”
The engagement process will unfold over the coming months with an urban design framework plan tentatively scheduled to be presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development in October 2017.