WINNIPEG -- The City of Winnipeg has released new draft guidelines for developers looking to infill mature neighborhoods.

The draft looks at broad development and design issues, including local context, size, privacy concerns, landscaping, and parking.

The city is asking Winnipeggers for their feedback on the proposal, but some residents and city councillors are saying lot-splitting in their area has been a disaster.

88 Pilgrim Avenue used to be a bungalow in the Glenwood area, but it was demolished and two homes are being built in its place.

“In this neighborhood of 22 streets, we have had over 100 lot splits,” said Ray Hesslein, Chair of the Glenwood Neighborhood Association.

88 Pilgrim Avenue was approved for a lot-split through an application for a variance. Hesslein said many of the new builds in the area have been approved the same way.

“The reason that they can be done by variance in this area is the area was originally laid out with parish lots.”

St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes said some lots in the area have old underlying lots that are two properties in the land titles office.

“You bought a house on a 50-foot lot, you think your neighbor has the same,” said Mayes. “Then your neighbor says, ‘Well, actually, there are these old underlying 25-foot lots. I’m going to tear down this house, put up two new ones, each with a secondary suite.’”

Mayes said the volume of lot splits has become a strain on the neighborhood.

He said he’s not against infill, and has voted in favor of it on many occasions, but these types of lot-splits have led to hundreds of complaints in his ward.

“(I disagree with) the idea that we should extend them elsewhere in the ward, and somehow they’ve been a success,” said Mayes. “It has not been a success if you have any respect for people in mature communities.”

The city said the guidelines will assist in achieving appropriate and contextual design for small scale residential buildings, and provide direction on where these different types of buildings should be located within our mature neighborhoods. 

Mayes said residents in his ward are OK with change, but they want a bigger say.

Winnipeggers can have their say by attending one of the upcoming in-person or virtual public engagement sessions starting Sept. 30. An online survey is also available until Oct. 15.

Hesslein said the Glenwood Neighborhood Association intends to get involved in the consultation process.

“We’re going to have a lot to say about the details of the infill strategy,” said Hesslein. “We want quality in our backyard, and we’re not getting listened to.”