Steinbach City Council is in the process of updating the Official Community Plan (OCP), which includes reviewing land use designations. 

Presenter Carrie Shultz showed Steinbach City Council a map of the proposed update for the Central Business District (in red) and the Central Business District Transitional (in pink).

The Central Business District and Transitional. Photo provided.

“This is kind of where we want to get some direction from council, on if we just want to leave it how we're proposing now, or if additional changes are required.”  

Shultz explains the Central Business District (CBD) is designed for higher-density developments like mixed-use and commercial.  

In the OCP proposal, the only change to this area is a slight expansion to the North to accommodate the Southeast Event Centre. 

The Transitional area is to provide a buffer between the commercial uses and the single-family dwellings that are to the north and south of the CBD. 

“Within that Transitional Policy Area, generally what's permitted is a bit higher residential development. So more semi-detached, more multi-unit dwellings are generally permitted in that area.” 

Shultz says there has been interest in the area south of Highway 52 from developers, and suggests expanding the Transitional Area south to convert some of the Residential Policy Area to Transitional.  

“Expanding the Transitional Policy Area to allow continued densification, if that's something that's desired. Alternatively, we leave things as is.” 

Councillor Jac Siemens says it’s a good idea, in theory. 

“I think the will of council would be that we need higher densification downtown, but when it gets to an application that's before Council, we get a lot of pushback from the small homeowner. So then our history is that we say, ‘no, it's not going to happen.’” 

He says it’s happened several times now, where multifamily wants to come in, but the community pushes back. 

“So how do we create more density downtown without all the opposition? Because there's so much of that in our core downtown.” 

City Planner Lacey Gaudet says her personal opinion is that they shouldn’t expand the CBD Transitional Zone, but shrink it. 

“I think we should be focusing in on how we're going to deal with the one we have, and shrink it and focus more on that potential. Because we have had a few (multi-family developments) in the transitional in the past ten years or so, but not much.” 

Gaudet also shows the proposal to shrink the CBD. Yellow indicating the current CBD, and red representing the proposed CBD. 

The Central Business District. Photo provided.

She lists the items that are proposed to take out of the CBD. 

"The park in the CBD doesn’t make any sense, Brookdale Crescent’s in the CBD, take those out entirely. Sunrise Crescent is also in the Transitional. I don't think those have intent of ever becoming anything more than residential, I don't foresee in the next 10 years.” 

Gaudet says it would be smart to shrink the area and focus more on what's actually occurring. 

“The north side of Main, other than the Event Center, and anything on the other side of Hanover, we've had no questions, no queries regarding anything other than what's there, all those single families. There's been no interest in developing anything other than what's there.” 

She says council is better off focusing on the south side of Main Street, First Street, and Second Street, as those areas are where the City has been getting interest from developers. 

“My perspective is you focus on that, and take out some of the ones that we have no intent in ever becoming anything else out of it.” 

Mayor Earl Funk says it’s a very good suggestion. 

“Because we've had this for over a decade, and we've had some multifamily, but it's been minimal. A little bit more on the west side of PTH 12, but that was a lot of older run-down homes, and then they remove them and build something new and it's much more attractive.” 

Gaudet adds that the OCP is just the big picture. 

“This is where we see our CBD, and the specifics of how you can develop within that CBD would be later in the zoning bylaw.” 

Shultz notes the OCP is never meant to be a static document, and any changes made can be reverted in the future. 

“If something happens in two to three years, you can always come back and go through the amendment process.”