‘A Hail Mary pass’: Councillor tries again to waive $20K fees for Osborne Village arson victim

A Winnipeg city councillor is making one more ‘Hail Mary pass’ to get the city to waive what she calls exorbitant fees for an Osborne Village arson victim looking to rebuild after a tragedy.

Coun. Sheri Rollins (Fort-Rouge East Fort Garry) put forward a motion at the city’s Executive Police Committee to waive the more than $20,000 of fees facing Heather Shin, the owner of an Osborne Village convenience store.

In 2021, Shin’s store was destroyed in a blaze police say was arson. Her 60-year-old sister-in-law who had been living above the store died from the fire, and her nephew was also injured.

“She is an amazing woman who has been rebuilding family after arson, fire and tragic death,” Rollins said.

However Shin hit a roadblock in her efforts to rebuild the store when she was hit with $20,000 in city zoning and variance fees – prompting Rollins to go to bat, calling the fees exorbitant.

This is not the first time the city councillor has tried to get the city to waive the fees. Rollins had brought a motion to the city’s planning and property committee calling for the city to axe the hefty bill.

The motion failed after some councillors said the city was not in a position to waive the fees, given its financial situation.

But Rollins is giving it another go.

“I’m calling it a Hail Mary pass. (Shin) is literally just praying for the results to be positive for her and the community,” Rollins said.

The motion passed unanimously through the executive policy committee. It will now go to city council for discussion. 

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