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Winnipegger worries zoning changes could 'pit neighbour against neighbour'

The mayor’s inner circle has approved a controversial plan to change zoning rules, which would see new housing developments go up without public hearings in Winnipeg.

Mayor Scott Gillingham said this will help the city's housing supply in the long term. However, others are worried how this could hurt their residential neighbourhoods.

"For those who are stuck on the fear, the fears are not realized,” said delegate Brian Pincott at a meeting of the executive policy committee.

At issue, the City of Winnipeg has applied for up to $192 million from the federal government for housing, including affordable units.

However, in order to get the money, the city would need to make zoning changes to allow the construction of four units on a single lot and up to four storeys within 800 metres of frequent transit -- without a public hearing or zoning application.

Gillingham has a motion to move this forward.

"We need this housing today but we're going to need this housing over the next 20 years as well and cities do change,” the mayor said.

A number of delegates at the executive policy committee (EPC) meeting spoke in favour of the plan as they believe this will help address the housing shortage.

"Their kids can't find a place to rent anymore, and aging parents can't find affordable housing in their neighbourhood,” said Christina Maes Nino, executive director of the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association.

But some in the community worry this will cut their voice out of the development process

"There could be developments going up that are not within the character and are intruding on people's property,” said Kelly Ryback, a former council candidate and a St. James resident.

Those opposed told the EPC that they worry this will have negative impacts on their residential neighbourhoods

"You don’t have to ruin local neighbourhoods to create more housing in Winnipeg, and you don't have to pit neighbour against neighbour,” said homeowner John Youngman.

The mayor's motion before EPC says the changes would be subject to lot size considerations, building standards, land drainage, sewer capacity and roads

"So we want to be specific here in Winnipeg to understand our own context with what Winnipeg needs and hear from councillors and hear from the public,” Gillingham said.

The motion requires final approval from city council. Top Stories

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