Steinbach City Council discussed the closing of a public lane and creating a plan of works as it is the location of a drain and not a road allowance.
The section of public lane runs along the rear of several properties along First Street in Steinbach next to Highway 52.
City Manager Troy Warkentin says this parcel of land has always been used as a public drain and this change is to reflect the actual usage that the land is being used for, as there is no public lane that physically exists at this moment.
“The intention is that there will be no physical changes to what already exists, the intention of closing the public road as it presently exists and to replace it with a plan of works is solely to reflect the reality that that existing parcel of land is currently being used as a public drain and always has been.”
Council gave the bylaw second and third reading at last week’s council meeting, approving the closure of the lane.
This particular road closing and opening of the plan of works was identified as a condition of a previous subdivision application which council has already approved.
The approved subdivision is a three-story apartment building to be built at First Street and Highway 52
If council chose not to approve this public lane closing, then that previously approved subdivision would not be finalized.
Councillor Jac Siemens voted against the approval for the lane closure, as he doesn’t want the approved subdivision that requires it to go through.
“I'm not against the multifamily development, but I am against the CBD because of the zero lot line, so that building can go a foot off lot line, that means it could be very close to the 52 Highway,” he says. “I voted against it then on the principle that buildings like that need to have a further setback, and under the CBD the way it is today it can't.”
Councillor Damian Penner asked administration if it is feasible to close the part of the lane that is affecting the subject area of the property that has a development on file right now, and leave the remaining public lane that has access to the other properties intact.
Warkentin responded that this strip of land has always been used as a significant drain for the whole area, and it would be a great challenge and effort to redesign it to operate as both a public drain and public lane.
“In cases where there is an existing gravel public lane that a developer decides that they want to improve and hard surface to continue to provide access to a parcel of land that they wish to develop, that's a completely different consideration,” he says. “Because in cases like that, an actively used public lane already exists. That's not the case with this particular portion of land.”
Mayor Earl Funk concluded that it is wise to close this lane and keep it as it always has been, as drainage.
“It would be absolutely cost prohibitive to turn this into a lane in any way, because we would not get the drainage that is needed for that area. Steinbach is flat, we need as much drainage as possible. We cannot be cementing over drains and driving over there when the neighborhood will then be prone to flooding.”
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