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Southwood circle pedestrain mall

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Board of Governors accepts visionary policies to guide Southwood Circle development

February 1, 2023 — 

The Board of Governors approved Southwood Circle’s development plan at its Jan. 31 meeting, adopting paradigm-shifting policies that will guide how the land will be developed.

Called the Southwood Development Plan, the document (which can be found on page 21 of this open agenda) is essentially two policies that lay the framework for how the former golf course will be developed. The Development Plan was drafted by UM Properties, with input from the University.

The two policies—Community Wellness and Sustainability Policy, and the Design Policy—put people first in the area’s design and operations by prioritizing humans over cars, protecting and celebrating the natural environment and wildlife, creating an innovative living lab environment, and fostering a strong sense of belonging. The visionary policies are unique to Winnipeg and the City has labelled this plan as a model for others to follow

“The point of these policies is to enforce sustainability and wellness measures for the benefit of the community. That is exciting,” says Rejeanne Dupuis, director of campus planning. “I don’t know of any of other development in Winnipeg that has a community wellness and sustainability policy overarching the development framework. That in itself is pretty special, and then the fact that it is so broad—it’s not sustainability in terms of energy only but also social, economic, cultural, and of course environmental.”

Dupuis stressed that an important aspect of these policies is that, although the development of Southwood Circle is expected run a 40-year timetable, the Southwood Development Plan policies will be revisited every five years, ensuring that the development on the land will evolve by considering new technologies and applying what is learned in the first five years to future phases.

Southwood Circle winter scene

Built for Winter, including wind and shadowing considerations, outdoor community play spaces.

Much of the vision of this plan stemmed from years of extensive community consultations and a drive to build an exemplar community that put wellness at the forefront of every decision. The plan, for instance, preserves the waterfront as public space and will maintain twice the area of parkland required by the City. The landscape plan will also demonstrate leadership in Indigenous Planning and Design with Indigenous design elements incorporated throughout the development providing a welcoming and meaningful space for the new home of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Naomi Andrew, VP (Administration), noted at the BOG meeting that the Development Plan is a key document because it is one of the ways in which UM can ensure its vision for the lands is maintained. In addition, she noted that all Southwood Circle development must conform to this latest Development Plan and that there will be an oversight committee tasked with ensuring this is the case. This committee will have UM representatives on it, as well as an independent architect.  

Now that the Development Plan has been approved by the University, UM Properties can approach developers interested in subleasing land in Southwood Circle.

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