Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Boyd Building fiasco

This is really unbelievable. This evening, in the FreeP online, the Boyd Building owners will appeal a ruling they received on January 11th, advising them that the illegal sign they had erected still needed to come down.
The "owners" front man is listed in the Freep as Ray Raybachuk. A quick check on the FreeP's own search bar yields some interesting stories.
The same name brings a hit regarding a parking lot development on Toronto Street next to a block owned by the same person, (unless there's two people in Winnipeg sporting the same name). Apparently, the new parking lot previously had a house on it. No problem, right? Tear it down, except that in Winnipeg, you can't just tear down a house to create a parking lot. Like it or not, those are the rules, but really... what are rules anyway? Why let something as little as an old house get in the way? Tear it down without a hearing, or a permit, who gets hurt? Except... he didn't own the lot OR the house. In June of 07, the FreeP says,

"Police allege it (the house) was stolen by a man who evicted the family, bulldozed the house and replaced it with a parking lot next to an apartment block. ...Ray Rybachuk faces charges of theft of property valued at more than $5,000 and mischief causing more than $5,000 in damage in relation to the house demolition."

Hmm... rules huh? I guess they are just for a select group... the rest of us. Parking lots. Parking lots. Why is it so hard to find a parking lot? (Paraphrased from a Bugs Bunny episode

Fast forward to Christmas Eve, 2008. The FreeP reported on how great it was that some "developers" had purchased to Boyd Building and were going to develop the lot next door. in a FreeP article they wrote,

"A group of Winnipeg investors has purchased the Boyd Medical Centre and two properties immediately west of it and are planning to build a new 12-storey parkade/commercial building on the two adjacent lots. ...
Lawyer Ken Carroll and real estate developers Russ Knight and Ray Rybachuk said they hope to begin building the new facility in the spring or early summer and expect to complete it by the end of 2009."

I drove by just to check... no parking garage, just a bare lot. I thought it had been a park. Stefano! Wasn't that a park? Didn't the Biz have a park there? and aren't parking lots supposed to be hard topped? (no gravel)... and what happened to the trees and the benches?

I couldn't find anything in the FreeP, but the Sun in November of 09 wrote ,

"Grande said the BIZ gladly cleaned out the space because it thought construction was to occur. Then, he said, at least three large trees were pulled out of the lot -- by whom, the BIZ isn't certain -- and simply tossed in a nearby back lane. The tree-dumping, Grande said, is as "mind-boggling" as the site's new use....
Carroll said the parking is a "temporary use" for the site, which he added is slated for a development of commercial space and a multi-level parkade. He added that the project -- possibly to include demolition of an adjacent building and cost up to $30 million -- is hoped to begin next spring.
As for the former park, Carroll said, "there will be some temporary measures to beautify it a little bit, in the meantime."
(Ken) Carroll said he knows nothing about the removal of the trees. "

Ya Ken... sure... you're a lawyer... if you say it's so... we believe you...musta been some vagrants ripping up trees. Lets consider the requirements of a parking lot shall we?

Oh my. Lot drainage plans, engineers, I'll bet a lawyer would have a tough time negotiating that mess... send Ray! He knows how!

As I recall, parking lots need to have bumper fences, greening a hard surface, drainage. These "developers" have none of that... and why should they? Remember the rules... for the REST of us?

There's no one left believing that the $30 million dollar parking garage that was rolled out to much fanfare is going to happen. It was a nice photo op, with Realtor Russ Knight  and his buddy, smiling on the cover of the FreeP as I recall. This guy is a piece. He'll sit at a table with you and  tell you whatever suits him best at the moment, and then disappear. Then the line gets repeated. You know the one. It's very similar to, "...he knows nothing about the removal of the trees"

Property, Planning & Development has people in their sights. Small people who can't fight back. If our "leaders" don't follow through and take down this sign, there's no rules. Why do all the upfront work only to be told "no" at some point in the process? Just do it! If something this big is allowed to just "happen", then it's open season. Build whatever you want, hook up as much power as you like, and shine lights as bright as you please. From now on, I'll no longer be a part of  "the rest of us". You all can have that law abiding, process oriented group that waits 6 weeks for a building permit and pays $1700 to have a zoning hearing to allow you to build a front deck on your own property while you're told to wait for a hearing for about three months... you can be a part of that group. Maybe I'll join the group that just "get's it done" as I want to do it.

It's easier to ask forgiveness, than to ask permission.

Just ask Ray.


  1. Good post. The City's response to this will really show us how seriously it takes blatant flouting of the rules. I suspect they know that people are watching closely, though.