Canada Sikh Group To Get Share From Sale Of City Land


1947-2014 (Archived)
Sikh group to get share from sale of city land - Winnipeg Free Press

The city is selling a parcel of land that has sat idle for nine years after it offered it to a local cultural group.

And it is going against its 2008 ban on funding cultural groups to give the Manitoba Sikh Cultural and Seniors Centre Inc. and the Punjab Foundation of Manitoba $250,000 from the sale of the lot near Sisler High School.

"The mayor gave us a down payment for that May 23 at Vaisakhi," said Amarjeet Warraich, president of the Manitoba Sikh and Cultural Seniors Centre Inc. He said Mayor Sam Katz presented a cheque at their annual spring festival at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

The Sikh and Punjab groups tried for years to raise $7.5 million to build a domed cultural centre and seniors home on Redwood Avenue. Instead of taking the land the city offered for $1, they decided in 2008 to buy the former Brooklands Collegiate on King Edward Street for $900,000 and turn it into a cultural centre.

Now the city is selling the 3.3-acre property on Redwood, except for one tenth-of-an-acre that will be preserved for the poplars and owls who live in them, said Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan.

The Punjabi Cultural Centre will receive $250,000 from the sale of the land at Redwood and Fife even though city council decided in 2008 to no longer fund cultural centres.

Under the terms of its 2001 $1 deal with the city, the purchaser could invest the net sale proceeds of the city property toward the purchase of other property.

The group did not proceed with the purchase of the land but the city decided to give them a portion of the net proceeds up to $250,000 when the property is sold, anyway.

"That land is worth quite a bit of money," said Pagtakhan.

"If it's worth $1 million, we can sell it and give something back."

The Sikh and Punjab community wasn't happy with the location the city offered, said Warraich.

The school on King Edward, however, was on a main road, close to bus service and had classrooms built in, he said.

"It was just the right fit for us. We went to the city and we agreed the city would give us a lump-sum $250,000 for the land when they sell it...

Everybody's happy with it."