St. Boniface business owners concerned by underpass proposal considering expropriation
Published Saturday, April 18, 2015 5:17PM CST Last Updated Saturday, April 18, 2015 5:23PM CST
Business owners close to the intersection of Marion and Archibald Streets may need to relocate in the coming years.
That’s because preliminary plans for an underpass show some expropriation is being considered.
Georgia Skarpias’ salon, Hair Passion, is on Marion Street and she nearly threw out her invite from the city to come see the plans this past Wednesday.
“I thought it was an advertisement or something,” said the St. Boniface hairstylist. "My jaw dropped when I saw that I was one of the ones that was going to be expropriated."
Skarpias attended the meeting and snapped photos of the proposed designs. She said the properties needing to be expropriated were highlighted in purple. She’s now scared the area will be destroyed for those left behind.
"Could you imagine their property values? They're going to go down. They're going to get cracks in their homes. They're never going to sell them again," she said.
The city has estimated nearly 40,000 vehicles drive through the intersection each day. The heavy traffic is halted four to eight times daily because of trains.
Drivers told CTV News the city needs to move forward with the upgrades, even if it means loss of property.
St. Boniface city councillor Matt Allard says expropriation should be a last resort.
"If there was any concern I would like to hear about it so I can take it to public works and MMM group so they could consider that feedback," he said. MMM Group is a contractor consulting with the city on this project.
Allard said private meetings with property owners directly affected have been going on since June 2014.
A public, drop-in style meeting about the estimated $250 million dollar project will happen April 28, 2015 from 4:00pm-7:30pm at Archwood School. On display will be the preferred functional design which the city is looking for feedback on.
Skarpias will be there with the brightest sign she can make, lobbying for a simpler solution.
"The trains, why not do them at night? Like from 6 o'clock to 6 in the morning,” she said.
The proposed underpass is still in the early planning stages, and was recently prioritized as second on the City of Winnipeg’s Building Canada Fund application.