WINNIPEG -- A new map released by the province, and currently in the consultation phase could change the rules around residential development in the vicinity of the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

The Manitoba government released a draft airport vicinity protection area map on Monday, which would regulate where development can occur in the area of the airport.

“This is the next important and long-overdue step forward for Manitoba’s largest airport and the area surrounding it,” Municipal Relations Minister Derek Johnson said in a statement. “Current land-use policies have not been updated in a quarter of a century and are based on outdated forecasts of aircraft noise.”

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The draft airport vicinity protection area map, released by the province on Monday. (Image source: Manitoba government)

Under the proposed changes, lands that fall under area one, the land closest to the airport, are prohibited from having new residential development, except for minor infill and replacement of existing homes. Area two lands permit new multi-unit buildings up to 85 units per hectare, with development over 85 units requiring a conditional use permit.

“Existing areas currently prohibited from development under the Airport Vicinity Protection Area Secondary Plan are no longer reflective of current conditions on the ground as its geographic extent extends far beyond the reach of actual airport-related noise impacts,” a post on the Manitoba Regulatory Consultation Portal reads. “For these reasons, there is an opportunity to allow for residential development closer to the airport without negatively impacting current and future airport operations."

Airport Vicinity Protection Area plan currently us

Airport Vicinity Protection Area plan currently used in Winnipeg (image source: City of Winnipeg)

Transport Canada says residential construction or development should not be permitted in areas with a Noise Exposure Forecast of between 30 and 35.

According to the province, the proposed regulation is based on up-to-date scientific data on noise in the area of the neighbourhood.

A noise study was commissioned in August of 2020.

City councillor Scott Gillingham welcomed the new map from the province.

"I've been stating since 2016 calling for an update to the outdated Airport Vicinity Protection area, so I welcome this news," he said in a statement to CTV News.

The new plan from the province is currently in a public consultation phase for 45 days.

“Within six months of the regulation coming into force, the City of Winnipeg must establish an Airport Vicinity Protection Area in its development plan bylaw that consists of the lands contained within the new AVPA and, in the interim, must adopt policies that are consistent with policies set out in the regulation,” the province wrote in a statement. “Ultimately, the city must also enact a zoning bylaw that ensures the use of real property and development in the AVPA is consistent with the policies set out in the regulation.”

Shindico and Cadillac Fairview are proposing residential developments on the old stadium site and around Polo Park Mall.

However, the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) had concerns the development would lead to more noise complaints.

Justin Zarnowski, general counsel for Shindico, said the company is pleased with the announcement from the province, saying it shows residential development is safe in the Polo Park area.

“We did the science and it showed this, the province did the science and it showed this, so we’re happy that this finally happened,” he said.

In a statement, the WAA said they couldn’t comment on the details, since they just learned about the plan.

“WAA has continued to advocate for an update to the plan and seemed to be heading in this direction, with City Council set to vote on a motion to do so this month,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement. “WAA is surprised the Province is going against the recommendation in their own report to work collaboratively with the City and Airport toward this goal.”

-With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele.