Winnipeg seniors concerned over new development and drive-thru slated for River Park South

River Park South residents are voicing concerns about a potential development they say would affect many seniors that live along it.

Beth Watters’ mother moved into her river park south bungalow to have a quiet retirement. She says that dream is now threatened thanks to a new development slated to be built behind her house.

River Park Village Shopping Centre, a strip mall at 1500 Dakota Street, is looking to add a Dollarama and two drive-thru restaurants.

“There’s really been no consideration for the people that live adjacent to this development or this proposed development ten feet between a massive building and somebody’s fence is nothing,” said Watters.

Watters said she only found out about the new stores when a sign went up showing the proposed zoning change.

Watters believes the construction of the buildings would be a big problem for the many seniors who live along the parking lot.

“It will be unpleasant for a long time. Everybody who’s been around any construction projects knows how disruptive it is to your life, how loud. It’s just very unpleasant,” said Watters.

Colette Durant also lives beside the space. She said the tall building would block the seniors’ views — effectively cutting them off from the neighbourhood.

“And as a community, we choose to live here because we want to be part of this community, and if you are blocked off from the community, then you don’t feel like you’re part of the community,” Durant said.

Durant believes design changes are needed. She said she’d like to see a plan featuring local businesses or one adding to the neighbourhood’s walkability.

A point she hopes to make at a public hearing during the Riel Community Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Area Councillor Markus Chambers said he has received calls and messages about the zoning change.

He said in situations like this one, city hall must weigh the benefits to the drawbacks.

“It’s about balancing the pros and cons and coming up with solutions that will help this community grow as well as ensure that the residents who have made investments through purchase of property are not impacted adversely,” explained Chambers.

A balancing act Durant thinks should lean towards the impacted residents.

“Because this will change the face of our neighbourhood if this construction goes through the way that they are proposing, and there is no buffer or barrier in the world that will cut back on the noise and everything else that goes with it,” she said. 

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