Despite 21 formal letters of objection, a request for medium-density development at 205 McKenzie Avenue has been given second reading. 

Developer Luke Wiebe appeared before council on Tuesday to explain that he has been hired to build a four-plex at 205 McKenzie Avenue which just east of the pathway to Cottonwood Drive and right across from the SRSS. 

“Our plan is to create a beautiful home for our client and her two sons. This will allow them the opportunity as homeowners to rent a neighbouring home to another family as well as two smaller one-bedroom units to help fulfill the high demand for affordable rentals.” 

Wiebe adds “ it will be not much larger than a duplex but instead of an unfinished or finished basement, it has two one-bedroom units.” 

Wiebe's request was for council to rezone the property from low to medium-density residential. Residential Low Density allows for only single-family homes and duplexes. 

In addition to the 21 letters of objection presented to council, a number of neighbouring residents attended Tuesday’s public hearing to express their concerns.  

Kory Kowalchuk, who lives on Cottonwood Bend, says he is worried that this type of development would result in a reduction of property values, change the face of a neighbourhood that is all low density and single-family, create privacy and noise issues for neighbours, and negatively impact traffic and pedestrian flow. 

In fact, many of the concerns were related to the added traffic this proposed plan would bring.  

Councillor Michael Zwaagstra moved to give the rezoning bylaw second reading noting this would have very little effect on the already busy McKenzie Avenue. 

“This is to go from one home to having four units, that is what the change is. As far as the traffic impact, we have one or two cars going to four to eight, that is what the impact is as far as the traffic goes.” 

Councillor Bill Hiebert also spoke in favour of the rezoning bylaw. 

“We wouldn't have to have a rezoning if somebody built a duplex. In this case, the parking lot, the way it is set up, people do not have to back onto McKenzie and two of them are bachelor Suites. A duplex could be two full families, two bachelor suites adds two people and the possibility of two cars so I think this is actually going to be better in the long run."  

Not everyone was in favour of the proposed plan. Councillor Jac Siemens says a duplex on that lot makes more sense and is already allowed. 

“This is an extremely busy intersection between cars and pedestrian traffic. I think a duplex makes more sense to me and I will side with the homeowners that have signed the petition.” 

Council approved second reading with a 5 to 2 vote. Councillor Jac Siemens and Mayor Earl Funk voted against the motion. 

This file may have to go to the Municipal Board of Manitoba for approval due to the sheer number of objections submitted. Administration is currently going over the objections and will submit the bylaw to the municipal board if necessary.