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CentrePort Canada-South key to Winnipeg economy: MHCA

Changes to secondary development plans by the City of Winnipeg are a critical first step to giving CentrePort Canada new legs for expansion and for seeing Winnipeg grow its economy, MHCA President Chris Lorenc says.

“CentrePort is a unique selling proposition that helps put Winnipeg on the international map. It is starting to fulfil its goal of being Canada’s Centre for Global Trade,” Lorenc wrote in a submission to the Assiniboia Community Committee, for its public hearings about the changes proposed in the Airport Area West Industrial Secondary Plan.  

Lorenc presented the case for development at CentrePort Canada-South, approximately 1,000 hectares falling within the city’s boundaries, for the Community Committee May 28 meeting, where Councillors Janice Lukes, Kevin Klein and Scott Gillingham will hear public delegations on changes the secondary plan requires in order for development to proceed.

CentrePort Canada is strategically located within Winnipeg’s western boundary and the southern boundary of the RM of Rosser, near the Winnipeg International Airport, alongside trade corridors and next to three Class A railways.

The inland port’s full build-out holds huge gains for Winnipeg’s economy, serving as a magnet for companies and manufacturers looking for ready access to three modes of transportation. That is very attractive to site locaters and businesses of all sorts seeking advantage in moving their products efficiently to trade markets. Rosser has already serviced the land in its boundaries, gaining tax revenues as a result.

“The construction of CentrePort Canada Way, a $212.4 million investment by the Government of Canada and Province of Manitoba, and servicing and utility extensions to CentrePort North, the RM of Rosser lands within the inland port, have kick-started hundreds of millions of dollars of private capital investment. Over one hundred new companies now make their home in CentrePort North,” the MHCA submission states.

“The City of Winnipeg’s lands within CentrePort are also highly strategic and well-placed for development. Approving the new secondary plans is the first step in moving these lands forward for investment. Winnipeg has inadequate employment lands to meet future growth needs and must advance CentrePort South.”

Future servicing of the south development lands will allow, for example, the Winnipeg Airports Authority to develop its west-side campus, Bison Transport to build its new North American headquarters, and a residential project that will bring thousands of workers into close proximity to future jobs.

“The time to act is now. We cannot afford to let businesses and jobs go to other jurisdictions,” Lorenc implored. “The City of Winnipeg needs to be part of this success. We urge your support.” 

Lorenc chaired the Mayor’s Trade Council, which recommended developing an inland port in its 2008 report.

The report’s recommendations resulted in the Manitoba legislature’s unanimous adoption of the CentrePort Canada Act in 2009, creating CentrePort Canada, Canada’s first inland port.

Following the Community Committee’s public hearing, the plan is to go to City Council for second and third reading, for formal approval of the amended secondary plan bylaw.