Winnipeg organizations looking to transform Portage Place Mall

Several Winnipeg organizations have put forward a proposal to turn Portage Place Mall into a community hub. @swiddarassy reports.

By Swidda Rassy

From commodity to community, several Winnipeg organizations have put forward a plan to turn Portage Place Mall into a community hub.

The group says the plan is based on four major pillars which include turning the mall into a non-profit community centre, providing affordable housing, implementing a safety plan and making sure the property is Indigenous-owned.

“We brought together a coalition of community voices to help inform the project because we felt that if the private sector and the government can listen to the community then we can build a more successful project for everyone,” said Josh Brandon of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.

This comes after Toronto-based developer, Starlight backed out of a deal from purchasing the mall last year. Throughout the years the mall has struggled to attract shoppers, but despite its challenges, it has remained a popular gathering place for people living in the downtown area.

“Downtown is home for many newcomers, most of whom came from collective societies where meeting places are always the center places of their lives,” said Reuben Garang, executive director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg.

In a report called “State of the Inner City,” researchers say the biggest challenge facing the redevelopment of Portage Place is the Forks North Portage Partnership which relies on the mall’s revenue to benefit the Forks.

“$3 million a year comes out of portage place to help subsidize the Forks,” said Brandon. “And if this project is going to be successful that parking revenue and all the other revenue that is invested in this part of downtown needs to stay in downtown.

“We need more community development. And many of the solutions that are outlined in the report talking about creating more community spaces…we need to focus on spaces where the community can gather, the community can heal.”

The group is hoping the mayoral candidates running in the upcoming election will take interest in their proposal to revamp the property and hopefully turn their vision into a reality.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today