A sign stands near the construction site of what will one day be Canada’s largest urban reserve, at the site of the former Kapyong Barracks in Winnipeg. Plans to build Canada’s largest urban reserve in Winnipeg continue to move forward, and officials say shovels could be in the ground on the massive development before the end of this month.Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Plans to build Canada’s largest urban reserve in Winnipeg continue to move forward, and officials say shovels could be in the ground on the massive development before the end of this month.

“Things are looking great for the first phase of Naawi-Oodena,” Treaty One Development Corporation’s newly-named executive director Kathleen BlueSky said on Monday.

Last fall, First Nations leaders broke ground on a project that will see the site of the former Kapyong Barracks along Kenaston Boulevard transformed into the country’s largest urban reserve. The site is slated to become Naawi-Oodena, a development that will be a joint venture between the Treaty One Development Corporation and Canada Lands Company, a self-financing Crown corporation.

Urban reserves operate by allowing First Nations to develop land in cities for commercial purposes, which in turn generates revenue for their communities.

BlueSky said plans for what is being called Phase A of the development are progressing well, as she said the majority of financing for that first phase is now in place, and they expect work to begin in the coming weeks.

“We’ve mobilized our construction site, we have our temporary roads in place, we have trailers in place, so we’re going to be mobilizing the workforce by the end of May, and then we will start putting in the infrastructure,” BlueSky said.

Once that infrastructure is in place, BlueSky said the first building that will be built on the site will be a gas bar and car wash, and there are also plans for a seven-story, 105,000 square foot commercial building, another stand-alone commercial building, as well as two strip malls.

She added they have been encouraged about the prospects for the urban reserve project to succeed, because of the amount of interested tenants they say are already hoping to move into the new space once it is up and running.

“We have tenants lined up for almost all of our spaces in block A,” she said. “People have been reaching out for the last four years, and the people and the organizations who have reached out all seem very interested.

“And we do have several letters of interest from people and organizations that are planning expansions or evolution of their organizations, and hope to move into the space at Naawi-Oodena.”

In total, approximately 68% of the 168-acre site will be developed, and residential, commercial, educational, cultural, recreational, and other community-related facilities are expected to be built in the space, according to Treaty One.

The second phase is expected to include 600 residential units and another 400,000 square feet of commercial space, while phase three is expected to include another 400 residential units and 350,000 square feet of commercial space.

The first phase, according to BlueSky, should be completed in the next four to five years, and she added work on other phases of the project could begin while they are still working on phase one.

“There’s going to be overlap between the phases,” she said. “It just all depends on financing, on who the investors are, and on who wants to develop with us.”

The City of Winnipeg will also play a key role in the development, as an agreement signed in 2022 will see the City provide all municipal services for the Naawi-Oodena urban reserve “in a scope and manner consistent with the rest of the city.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

By Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 06, 2024 at 18:35

This item reprinted with permission from    The Sun    Winnipeg, Manitoba
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