Winnipeg has an extraordinary history. If we face our challenges, and embrace a vision of positive change, It can have an extraordinary future too.
Read my message below about the challenges we face and our solutions.
Winnipeg is a spread out, low density city. Our infrastructure requires hundreds of millions to repair and maintain. Our tax base is not large enough nor is it growing fast enough. Our fiscal situation is poor, which is a similar situation faced by many cities across Canada. During this term, I and the Council I serve on, have fought to restore accountability to City Hall. We also strove to prevent a repeat of the fiascos, like the Police Headquarters, through a variety of new initiatives. I believe we have come a long way.
However, even if it weren’t for these squandered funds by the previous administration, Our City would still be in a dire fiscal situation.
WE NEED DENSITY!
The simple truth, is that we have too many kilometres of road and pipe. There are too many neighbourhoods spread out across our City who need not just roads, but transit, community centres, fire & police, parks, waste pickup, and the myriad of other public services Winnipegers deserve and expect. We seriously lack urban density.
If we stayed on the path which we have been on, there are only two choices; tax increases or service cuts (but most likely- both). Compounding with our fiscal situation, our provincial government has been withdrawing financial support from City services; like transit. We only collect 1/10th of the taxes, but provide many of the front line services people use everyday. Furthermore, much of our property tax bill goes to the education system on top of our limited revenue generation powers.
We cannot and should not massively raise taxes.
We cannot and should not cut our already overstretched public services.
Winnipeg is too spread out, too low density, and not growing in a viably sustainable way.
There is another path that I want to help lead us down.
For Winnipeg to thrive, prosper and succeed, there is one overarching objective we must strive for. Winnipeg must grow and develop into a denser, more compact city. Infill, densification, and redevelopment are the best tools we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.
When new growth and new residential units take place within the existing built up area, within our existing communities, they don’t require new roads, new pipes, new community centres, or new fire halls. Often, these new residents help fill underused services, like parks, and give us greater strength to lobby for improved services in the area.
New residents shop at our local businesses, helping to revitalize our community main streets, and support thriving neighbourhoods.
New residents help reduce traffic congestion, by allowing more of our growth to take place in transit, pedestrian and cycling friendly areas; helping us improve them, as well.
Winnipeg must grow into a denser city, in all forms. This can mean a lot split -two houses where one once stood. It can mean multi-family buildings, like condos and apartments. It can mean duplexes, fourplexes and secondary suites in existing houses. It’s not just going to happen downtown. It’s going to happen in neighbourhoods; new and old, urban and suburban, North, South, East & West.
Above all else, it is going to mean CHANGE.
Change in the look and feel of our city, our neighbourhoods, and our streets. This change needs to be communicated, planned for and well-managed.
TAKE ACTION WITH ME!
Below are three concrete actions we are taking, that you can support, to realize this vision of an extraordinary future for Winnipeg.
Last year, I moved a motion calling on our Urban Planning division, to update and improve the way we do public notifications for development applications. If we achieve this grand goal, it will mean more infill, and more signs appearing on a lawn near you. I believe that clearer, plain language signs with visual diagrams will reduce confusion and misinformation. This will also help neighbourhoods better participate in the sustainable growth and development of their communities. Please click the link below and provide your feedback!
Our Winnipeg & Complete Communities
The City of Winnipeg is currently in the midst of an update to its “Our Winnipeg” & “Complete Communities” documents, which are the foundation for the City’s urban planning decision making. I encourage you to participate and provide your feedback, at Speak Up Winnipeg using the link below.
The City of Winnipeg is also currently updating its “Infill Strategy” document, which outlines our broad objectives and the principles we adhere to when making decisions about where, what, and how to place infill development. The process is ongoing, and I encourage you to take a look at the link below.
Thank you for your attention. Please take the time to participate in one or all of these processes and give me your feedback and thoughts about this vision.
City Councillor for St. Boniface