After many years of limited to no progress, a milestone was reached today in regards to the development of the former Canadian Air Forces based in Winnipeg, Kapyong Barracks.
An agreement in principle was signed between the Canadian government and the seven Treaty 1 First Nations Chiefs. The terms of this agreement in principle will guide the development of a final settlement agreement. While no time frame was given for a final agreement, all parties are optimistic one can be reached in short order.
In the immediate future you won’t notice many changes to the site. The Department of Defense plans to continue with demolition and removal work, which should be completed in the next two years. Vacant since 2004, at the very least the site will be cleaned up over the next few years, but now is the time to start imaging potential uses for this massive plot of land.
It’s not often a community gets the chance to rejuvenate a 160-acre area, valued at tens of millions of dollars. In Manitoba BOLD, The Winnipeg Chamber called for the creation of an urban reserve on the site, as one of several measure to improve economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Other recommendations included creating an Indigenous business incubator where participants would receive specialized supports and mentorship opportunities. Kapyong Barracks could be an ideal spot to host such an incubator.
Negotiations will hopefully soon start with the City of Winnipeg, with a top priority for the site being widening Kenaston Boulevard. It will take years for the site to be fully developed, but today’s agreements shows there is finally some positive momentum behind the re-development process.