On Tuesday, January 12 in Manitoba, councillors that comprise the Assiniboia community committee approved the first draft for the proposed Assiniboia Downs expansion, which has been characterized as an 'urban reserve' complete with racing, entertainment and other amenities.
Darren Dunn, the CEO of Assiniboia Downs, was quoted as saying that the location is an “ideal” area for the expansion, explaining that it “already has a parking lot, already has services and access in and out. It’s an ideal area to develop.”
“We are looking forward to reasserting our presence in the city of Winnipeg,” Chief Cindy Spence said. “Peguis has long roots here in and around the city.”
An article on the proceedings by the Winnipeg Free Press states that Tuesday’s positive vote only took mere minutes to reach.
The piece also states that the proposal will now move to the stage of registering with the city’s land titles office. The proposal would ultimately see 36 acres of land developed and turned over to Peguis, while the jockey club would still remain on as a partner. The introduction of a casino is part of the overall plan.
“We were successful in the first step of many,” said Dunn. “Our master plan was reviewed and very positively received."
Although Tuesday’s vote is a positive move for the proposal, it is expected that the process will be a long one, and that shovels will not be in the ground for years.
"Peguis has long and historical roots here in this city and down the Selkirk area,” Chief Spence said. “Now that the land claim was settled in 2008, it had given us the dollars to invest. The first step is to get land title and once that is in place we can start the process of converting the land into reserve.”
(With files from Global News and the Winnipeg Free Press)