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Why was Skinner's restaurant removed from the Forks Market when there so much empty space there?

Wednesday, December 4 I asked in Question Period about the large amount of vacant space at the Forks Market, some of which had been vacant for two or more years.  I also asked specifically as to why the renowned Skinner's Restaurant was removed from the Forks Market when there is so much empty space now.  My question and the Minister's response are below.    A video of the exchange can be seen at this link -

The Forks Market - Vacancy Management

Hon. Jon Gerrard  (River Heights): Madam Speaker, today The Forks Market has a lot of empty space, much of it empty for two or more years. The list of vacant space includes what was formerly Muddy Waters smokehouse, Beachcombers, Skinners, Dragon House, Aida Crystal, significant parts of Sydney's, Sushi Train, and several balcony businesses a lot–along with a lot of unused former administrative space.
      The minister overseeing municipal affairs is responsible for oversight of The Forks, a provincial treasure and major tourist destination.
      Why is there so much empty space? What is she doing about it, and why was an eminent, historic, iconic establishment like Skinners given the boot when there is so much empty space?

Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): I have to admit, Madam Speaker, I wasn't anticipating a Skinners question today. I want to say that I hope all of us would join together in defending that wonderful institution that is the Thompson family and their investment in the economy of the province through Skinners. It's a wonderful family business. It's thrived and succeeded for many years. I know it will continue to do so.
      As far as Forks retail space is concerned and economic growth in the province, Madam Speaker, I can only say for the last two years consecutively Manitoba has been the province that has led the country in attracting private sector capital investment. I don't expect the Forks to be any different in the months and years ahead.  [interjection]

Madam Speaker: Order.


  1. Holy. Talk about a non-answer. I don't live in the city but I visit a couple of times a year and usually stay at IATF. I used to really look forward to my free time so that I could wander the buildings and businesses and see what was new. The past two years the answer has been - basically nothing, except more empty spaces. The Forks retail buildings are boring - they've been gutted. I spent an hour at The Common last fall with friends - didn't enjoy it at all - there's no quiet space left to site and chat. The hollowness on top of conversation and loud music makes it noisy and hard to hear others - we were sitting at the end of a large table and had to 'not quite yell' to be heard above the din- ugh. Had one drink and left. Nothing relaxing about it.


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