Exchange District BIZ looking into future plans for Alexander Docks

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The Exchange District BIZ said it is looking into future plans for the Alexander Docks, which have been shut down for several years due to safety concerns.

The City of Winnipeg told CTV News Winnipeg the dock is unsafe in its current state and repairing the docks would not be cost effective.

However, the city noted it is in discussions with the Exchange District BIZ about the next steps for the docks. It said it is waiting on ideas for how the docks can play a part in the organization’s long-term plan for the area.

David Pensato, executive director of Exchange District Business Improvement Zone, said the docks are an important piece of property for the Exchange District and the city.

“It kind of completes Waterfront Drive as a really nice public space,” he said.

“We’re really keen to see something happen there.”

Pensato said they are currently working with the city on a long-term plan for the area, and the Alexander Docks are a piece of property the organization is looking at.

He said the Exchange District BIZ is having ongoing conversations with its stakeholders, and is hoping to provide the city with short, medium and long-term recommendations for the site to see if there’s a way forward.

“It is ultimately public property,” Pensato said.

“We’re happy to work on whatever the outcome is to have it be successful.”

He added that it is a challenging site, not just because the docks need to be rehabilitated or removed, but also because part of it is subject to flooding.

“There’s a lot to consider with the site in terms of specific things,” Pensato said.

“But we have heard loud and clear that it needs to be a public space, it needs to be an active space. We need to pay attention and pay respect to the fact that it has become an important reminder for the need to address the challenges of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.”

He added that the docks are also an important historical site for Metis people and for other First Nations groups.

“Those are the kinds of considerations that are going in there,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of different ideas tossed around.”

Pensato said the Exchange District BIZ hopes to have some draft recommendations for the overall long-term plan for area by the beginning of summer, and then have something a little more solid put together by fall.

- With files from CTV’s Jon Hendricks.