WINNIPEG -- Not all Manitobans are happy with the province’s plans to turn Winnipeg’s South Perimeter Highway into a freeway.

On Tuesday evening, the province invited Manitobans to a free public information session in order to hear feedback on the province’s long-term vision for a safer South Perimeter Highway.

The design to upgrade the highway to a six-lane modern freeway was started in 2018. The province said the design would get rid of level crossings and intersections, opting instead for interchanges and overpasses with railway crossings running under the road.

“This is just a plan – a vision to get us to controlled access. There will be no stoplights, people will not have to cross the highway with conflicting traffic,” Don McRitchie, manager of capital projects with the province, told CTV News at the public session Tuesday night.

“We’re only talking about the south half of the Perimeter, from Fermor, basically to Portage Avenue.”

The province has reached the third and final stage of the public engagement process.

McRitchie said this stage of public engagement is showing the province’s recommended changes to the South Perimeter. People who attended the sessions were given the opportunity to give their feedback verbally and in a written questionnaire.

Not everyone is happy with the recommended changes.

“Our concern is right now we have a nice vacant field behind our home. The deer run freely, it’s a beautiful property – our land value is in great shape. We just got our dream home essentially,” said Harmon Livingston, a homeowner along Paul Boulevard near the Perimeter. “Now they are proposing to run a highway right behind our house.”

Livingston said he is worried the changes would decrease the property value and disrupt the natural habitat for the deer and other wildlife.

“I understand the theory and logic behind it, but I just think there are better ways to accomplish the same goal.”

For people who did not have a chance to attend Tuesday night’s session, the province has planned two others in the coming week.

One is scheduled for Dec. 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the South Winnipeg Community Center located at 666 Silverstone Ave, and on Dec. 12 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Oak Bluff Recreation Club, located at 101-123 MacDonald Rd., Oak Bluff.

Following the public engagement, the province will finalize a design. 

-with files from CTV's Jamie Dowsett