Plan Winnipeg II

As if in response to the Don Street blog, the city has announced (H/T WW&B) that it is planning to scrap its old Plan Winnipeg and create a new long-term vision for the city.

This is excellent news. What we need are long-term goals for the city, a vision for vibrant livable communities, a plan that will address the city’s many challenges, and a systematic approach to development. Let’s be sure that we young hip bloggers get in on the plan and work to ensure that “Winnipeg is just at that cusp [of] really becoming a vibrant, urban centre.”

So, what do you think, online Winnipeggers? What does the city look like in 25 years and with 190,000 more residents?


44 responses to “Plan Winnipeg II

  1. Here’s something for the Einsteins.

    Can you tell me what the value is based on the portioned taxable assessment of (22,681,614 )

    Check out the first sentence, almost makes you want to vomit for how convoluted it is.

    The railways pay taxes based on their assessed value portioned at 25% multiplied by the current years mill rate and the assessed value based on market value of the property.

    On April 11, 2008 the Assessment and Taxation Department calculated the taxes for the railways under property classification 52, the total municipal levy was $577,202. This property tax levy translates in a portioned (taxable) assessment of $22,681,614.

    Needless to say, the 577 Thousand they pay is chickenshit compared to the disruption and loss of land the City experiences.

  2. And what exactly is going to employ an additional 190,000 people?

  3. Much as now….only 25 percent bigger. More deterioration of neighborhoods, expanding to include alot of St James up to the Grace, as well as the southern end of St. Boniface. The U of W will encompass 30 separate buildings downtown and will start to put in skywalks. Out of those 190000 more residents, one-third will be aborginal, and 60% will be below the lowest tax bracket. Suburban communities such as Lindenwoods, Island Lake, Waverly West, South Mcgillvray, and the sprawling Almost Steinbach will be gated, limiting access to their roads. Private security for individuals will boom as people take hired muscle with them to the shopping malls. Street gangs will learn the word “ransom”. Various inner city streets will be closed to vehicles because the City can’t afford to fix them, but will tell the urban elite that it’s not because of money. There will be toll highways running in and out of Winnipeg. The railyard will still be the centre of Winnipeg because no developer will pay to clean it up. A real south-east Asian grocery chain will emerge from Winnipeg and begin to expand in Western Canada. People will lease space in elder care homes when they’re in their 40’s hoping a spot will become available when they need it. The booming businesses will be childcare, small scale solar energy units for the home, and home repairing, not renovation. Years of perpetual miniority governments will grind long-term planning to a halt, quick fixes being more prudent for those needing a quick re-election. A new rural right-wing political party in Manitoba will emerge and be surprisingly effective at eroding provincial NDP support with tough crime proposal and government program reduction. There will be two-thirds less farmers in Manitoba by then, placing enormous pricing pressures on Winnipeg bakeries and groceries as the high price of gas keeps food inflation high. There will not be a new hospital, but the HSC will find 3-4 buildings by the airport and run various clinics from then.

    Pardon me, but I don’t see much use for the same city staffers scrapping one plan for another. Plans have been created, changed, dropped, forgotten, usurped, and gutted for many years now. What’s needed is a muzzle on the Heritage Winnipeg people, a little more balls on the Southern Chiefs Organization to actually push urban reserves here, and more money to stay here instead of being spent by people cross-border shopping or buying Swedish furniture instead of supporting our own Winnipeg-made products.

    I’m off the soapbox now…

  4. Great post, Mike. I wonder if a Plan Winnipeg Wiki might be in order so we can have a place to throw our ideas. I have a VERY long-winded commentary, so I just posted it on my blog to save room:

  5. Actually 25 years is too short a lifetime.

  6. @Evan: At the IKEA store, of course.

    @Sigh: Not sure what the point is on the railway taxes…And 25 years is nothing! Vancouver has a 100 year plan.

    @Regan: Thanks for the comments on your site. I’ll post there when I have a chance.

    @Chris: The idea of a long-term vision that informs all decisions is a good one for many reasons, particularly to try to avoid some of the madness you suggest will occur over the next 25 years. Fairly depressing future you paint.
    As for Winnipeg-made products vs. Ikea, I tend to be of two minds on that. First, Ikea and any other competitor should be welcome to come a set up shop but, second, they should have to pay for their own improvements. In the Freep today, Bart suggests that the subsidy is a financial no-brainer…one would only say that without brains. Aparently that land would never be used for anything else, that retail money would not be spent elsewhere and also on PST, and there are no repercussions for small businesses in Winnipeg who will try to compete with Ikea.

  7. @Bart: Didn’t mean to suggest you have no brains. Ok, I did suggest it, but only on that point!

  8. 190 000 more residents, sounds like about 25 000 more homes in new subdivisions to me.

    The idea of scrapping plan winnipeg will not do a single thing. Our current course of action is to build suburbs and pile on millions of square feet of retail to accomodate them.

    If scrapping plan winnipeg had something to do with putting a moratorium on suburban development, get rid of surface lots and focus 98% of our energy downtown, then I might be excited.

    All I see happening is plan winnipeg getting scrapped, and people deciding that places like Ikea have great economic benefits for our city, and to build more of them. More roads, more suburbs, more retail. No downtown, no Transit and no apartments.

  9. Lets put it this way Donald. any plan devised concieved imagined that does not deal with the Rail situation in Winnipeg is boneheaded.

    Dealing with rails is key to our future Transit goals and how we develop as a City.

    Right now the best that was concieved was to build a BRT to a suburb at a cost of 500 million or so. Add to that a stadium is going to get plunked in a suburb and the emphasis is building more residential and business on that BRT line.

    All of that means the core is shot and we aren’t leveraging the existing infrastructure. Very expensive and insane way to run a City.

    And the half a mill we collect from rails isn’t worth the grief we have to put up with.

    So yes, 100 year plan, do you still see rails as they are choking this City ?

  10. I’m open to rethinking the rails, Sigh. What do you suggest?

    As for leveraging the existing infrastructure, we’ve done much towards that end in the past few years in Winnipeg. Much more needs to be done, housing in particular. We need more people downtown, have huge surface lots, have developpers that want to build needed apartments and have communities like NK that don’t want the high-rise apartments built in their neighborhood….Plan Winnipeg II could address all these with a new housing strategy that sees the vast majority of new apartment units going up in the city center.

  11. Donald, I suggest you take a walk up the Arlington bridge, then look East and West, now get rid of the bridge , the rails, what do you see. I know what I see.

    You need more people downtown, whats the catalyst ?

    Go on , no platitudes, show me some teeth.

  12. The catalyst? Using the empty existing space. The parking garage burried below the Millenium library holds more cars than all the lots (9 of them) that I can see out my window. (never mind that they currently hold 23 cars right now while the Library probably has 350 empty spaces) Convert those lots into something more useful and there’s your catalyst. We could put in 1000 new apartments within a block of my apartment and connect them to the Skywalk system. Walk around further in the downtown and you’ll find dozens of half-empty locations needing in-fill. If we filled all the empty holes in the downtown we wouldn’t also need that railway area. If we filled in the space in the center with people, we would also be leveraging our existing infrastructure, to borrow from your earlier post.

  13. What, ?

    And what do you think will bring those people downtown ?????

    “You wouldn’t need that railway area”.

    good gawd, is that the best you can come up with for a 100 year plan. Yikes. No wonder the wolves will do as the wish.

    I don’t think infill housing is enough of a catalyst that would lead Winnipeg forward, it could be a byproduct certainly, but not the gut wrenching soul turning catalyst required.

    But thats an old guys opinion based on what he sees, and has experienced.

  14. We’re talking about a 25-year plan and the city currently projects 190,000 new residents. Based on years of experience living in various cities throughout the world, I can say for certain that our infill potential is great in the center. Spaces like the northern edge of St. Boniface, the downtown surface lots, Point Douglas, etc. have loads of space to live in.

    And why would housing in the center not be a catalyst? There is a shortage of apartments in the city and putting them right at the heart of the city attached to the Sky Walk, next to Graham avenue, near the Forks, etc….these wouldn’t be attractive places to live?

  15. This is a great commentary/discussion here…great point by donaldstreet pointing out that while competition in business is a good thing (in general), getting perks (“they should have to pay for their own improvements”) distorts the playing field. Believe me, I wish for a long term plan for Winnipeg, I just don`t think there is enough incentive for those with the power and money to followw anything other than the current course of action.

    Great point about the Millenium Library parking lot…I forgot about that one. What`s happening with the Post Office building, there`s your litmus test for how downtown infill development will be handled. And don`t forget the parking, if you want people to come, get them a nice parking spot. The Health Science Centre figured that out with the Emily Street parkade, sacrifice one potential surface lot with a large enough edifice to keep surface lot spread from occuring, can you imagine the improvement in Exchange traffic if an Emily Street type parkade was places along King or Princess?

    Finding spots for apartments along the Skywalk would be a really good idea as well…but my hopes are way low on that one.

  16. While I certainly would love to see the rails moved out of town (or to CentrePort), I do agree that the surface lots in downtown would make a good first target. I think it would be difficult to justify spending a billion dollars or so acquiring the railyards when we could add density to what’s there already. THEN we’d have more resources, know-how, and dare I say, moral authority to take that low-use railway land and convert it to new development.

  17. You guys are banking on private money making this happen. It won’t. Private money builds where it wants to build. And we hae a habit of chasing them away.

    You need a massive government project to change the flow out of the core and back into it. Private money won’t build on your parking lots if there is no reason for people to be there.

    Whats the catalyst, why would they be there? Surely you aren’t suggesting because its downtown living.

    Regan we can’t wait for a nebulous concept to take hold. If you want change in this City it has to be a concrete proposal with earth shattering ramifications. Winnipeg has nothing because its so young, you have to invent it, and that will take money, a ton of it.

    25 year plans are as useless as the last Plan Winnipeg.

    Chris, I’ve been here 20 years, and you are right, they will do what they like regardless of common sense.

    I was trying to visualize transconians , North enders, Mapletonians trying to get to the new stadium if they don’t have a car, thats going to suck bullets. Welcome to an intelligent City, not.

  18. @Sigh: I agree that the time has come for concrete proposals. I’m working on one myself, but not for downtown. Does it make sense for concerned citizens to identify parcels that require development, and attempt to coordinate with public, private, and not-for-profit entities to create a development plan? I’m starting to think that this might be a good model to try in Winnipeg.

    The massive government projects could be on their way over the next few years, as we see the $30 billion infrastructure fund and its successors come into play.

  19. Let see, we base a plan on 190000 people coming to the peg , In the last 20 years, how many came ?

    Where were they employed ? Where are these new arrivals going to be employed ? What industry’s will develop to a scale that allows these people to work ?

    Have you seen any ? I sure as shit haven’t. I don’t think in the last 20 years we came close to even creating 20% of that number.

    190THOUSAND people….wow….amazing….I’m stunned. Where will all these Indian farmers , filipoinos , Native migrants find work let alone populate apartments downtown. By nature, they will buy homes and live together till they can buy another , thats how immigrants do it.

    But 190 Thousand, what an impressive number. it sounds bigger then the combined automotive industry in Ontario. Surely you aren’t suggesting GM/FOR/Chrysler/Honda/Toyota are transplanting themselves.

    And besides, who the hell would want to stay here with that population growth. Can you imagine the mess, 25 year plan, ya ok. It only took 20 years to get the Kenaston Underpass built, and as we see, wrong.

  20. Sigh, you’re right on about the private money, the lasck of it is why so many Plan Winnipegs have failed…many downtown revitalizations (Chicago, for example) have used government fund as incentive to build, not to do the building itself.

    the City should a) buy out some old properties, including some of the ridiculous Heritage Properties that ties up land;
    b) grab Impark, shake them by the throat, and build a large parking structure somewhere, anywhere and set up a sort of Park-and-Ride, only for Downtown;
    c) find a way to create incentive for builders to build downtown apartments
    d) let private business figure out on its own where to open groceries, clothing stores, coffee houses, etc..

    Is that doable?

  21. Chris…..not without a catalyst that makes developers take notice. You guys do understand that this town runs on government money and that there is no real new money coming in.

    Unless you invent something that leverages government money to spark industrial type growth for those numbers, Shindico . Impark, and other developers combined don’t have the means to build something …something ?…for what? to what end ? I don’t get it.

    The proposal is to build residential units downtown yet who in their right minds would move there and why ? Winnipeg is a FAMILY oriented town. For those of you who have no kids, that usually means the requirement for a car. It also means , space, safety, education, social programs and community centres including outdoor rinks etceteraaaaaa.

    As much as you’d like to think its a town of yuppy young hipsters, it isn’t. Infill housing and bike paths are all fuzzy feel good slogans. They do very little to address the needs of a City’s long term growth potential.

    I’ve seen dribbles of potential growth but its so scattered it either dies or can’t solidify into forward momentum.

    Again, still looking for that catalyst that would make developers want to build on a scale that would at the very least hit 25 thousand population growth in the core.

  22. 190,000 is the city’s number.

    Using growth rates from 2001 to 2006, I calculate that we will grow by 98,982.9 people in the next 25 years if current CMA growth rates continue. However, the rate of growth is itself growing.

    The 190,000 growth translates into a 27% growth versus the current CMA population. This translates into an anualized growth rate of 0.97%. While not unreasonable, this is faster than current growth rates and likely reflects the increased number of births in the province, provincial policy on immigration, and migration patterns from reserves/rural Manitoba. I cannot guaruntee their projection, but without a better one, I will use it since it seems reasonable.

    What choices these new Winnipeggers make are affected by numerous factors – some of which we can affect. Chris suggests some ways to affect the factors influencing decisions, and so has Regan. I’m open to all their suggestions, though I would naturally modify some to fit my own personal preferences.

    Finally, on “the mess”, you are correct. If we do nothing to plan for the future, we will be in a terrible situation. Now is the time to plan so that these new people can be accomodated and so that we can have the city we want. We need a solid plan with teeth.

  23. so in 5 years based on the chart we grew from

    676594 in 91 to 694594 in 2006 = 18000 0r 3600 per year.

    multiply say even 5000 per year and you won’t even come close to the 190 K number

    5000 x 25 = 125 K

    The fact that they are fudging numbers to suit their agenda and somehow make things seem rosy only confirms that its steady as she goes.

  24. Population dynamics are not based on arithmetic series, Sigh. Geometric growth is exponential in nature.

    So, if we use a growth of 190,000 over 25 years, and start at 694594 as the base population, we have:

    190000+694594=694594*(1+rate of growth)^25

    And, then you end up with 0.0097 as the rate of growth. So, next year you would see the population grow by 6737. I’ll admit that’s a fast rate of growth relative to current rates. But, as I mentioned, the second derivative (rate of growth of rate of growth) is increasing. In other words, if that growth continued to grow, we would need quite a lot less than 6737 new residents in the first year.

    In fact, starting with your 3600 in growth in the base year, you have a growth of 0.5183%. Then, if the rate of growth itself grows by 0.44% per year, you have your 190,000. Now, be careful on those percents. I don’t mean that Y2 growth is 0.9584%. That would be rediculous. I mean that growth in year two would be 0.5183% times 1.0044….or, 0.5206%. In other words, the growth of the growth rate need only grow by 0.000023. With only that growth of growth, we would add 191,810.3 new citizens of Winnipeg in 25 years time.

    Now, consider the rate at which the rate of growth is actually growing! From 1996 to 2001, the growth rate was 0.6%. From 2001 to 2006, 2.7%. That’s a growth of rate of growth 0f 450%, or 35% per annum. In other words, our rate of growth is growing at nearly 80 times what it would need to do in order to acheive that 190,000 new citizens in 25 years.

  25. They may not be based on arithmetic, but the math explains we will not hit 190K in 25 years. As you said yourself, the very first year of your calculations is not believable. Therefore, the whole concept falls.

    Lets set aside the very real fact that we have no industry to sustain that growth. Based on the last 20 years, most of the growth is of low quality. No major industry has settled in the City. No major industrial growth is targeted to support those numbers and quite frankly, as a City, in the state we are in , can’t support.

    The fact is, manipulating numbers in the face of historical growth is nebulous. Its not sustainable and is a metric that can lead you to mistakes.

    I can see home developers reveling in those numbers saying that more housing in suburbs is whats needed. Frightening to think what the costs would be once you consider schools, hospitals, roads, transit, and nuts and bolts infrastructure.

    Be careful of how you use your numbers.

    Anyways, so far I see no planned catalyst that would support those numbers. And if bike paths , walkways, more apartment buildings downtown and better transit forms the basis on the next 25 year plan then we will lose the opportunity to reinvent ourselves for the 22nd century. That chance slipped by in the late 80’s early 90’s , and it will slip by again.

    I’ll leave it to the academics to show me some imagination before I buy into vague theories borrowed from like minded sources.

    For myself, if I have time, I will present at the forum. I will be asking that a small budget be implemented to focus on the rails. Issues that need to be addressed and understood

    Cost of purchasing the properties

    Cost of cleaning the 80 Hectares

    Cost of aquiring and developing the North West corner for Centre Port.

    Cost of bypassing Winnipeg from the east to the West.

    Cost of LRT per km on purchased rail lines.

    Real Discussion on the benefits of locating the Major university in the core close to scientific academia in Health and potential spinoffs in a biomedical industry centred not only on education but combined with real scientific work at the Virology lab and HSC.

    This is the kind of catalyst I am looking for. Something big and interesting that will keep generations of peggers here. Then we can work on all the hip stuff .

    OK, I’m done. Ciao.

  26. A very good list of suggestions, Sigh. I like many of them very much.

    As for the numbers – that first year of growth is indeed unbelievable, which is why I talk about the growth of the growth rate. If we start with the current rate of growth and factor in the growth of that growth rate, we can easily hit 190K. In fact, in order to only get 190K is if the rate of change of the rate of growth declines from the present. Anyway, that’s unimportant. The fact is that the city will grow over time and we need to plan for it.

    As for HSC, the University of Manitoba is already there. And, the vast majority of the university’s work is not education but real research. Though, I agree completely that Manitoba should leverage its current expertise in bio-medical, and agricultural research. We could be a major global center for research.

    And, LRT seems like one of the better ways to go. I’d be interested in good research on that and concrete plans for implementation if/when it is feasible.

  27. My oh my….there is lots (lots!) of private money in this town, Sigh, it’s just that it’s in the hands of developers who enjoy the status quo. There is no incentive right now to halt sprawl because it’s where the money is. New homes for people who have been frightened by the media from moving downtown create a higher tax base for the City to project their future funds with, it’s creates money for developers and home builders who sell the homes, and business groups like it because it creates news areas for business to expand to. Now, this is not a bad idea in and of itself, but their needs to be a balance. If Winnipeg would restrict expansion a little but create incentive for infill (like Calgary and Vancouver, for example), we could achieve a good balance.

    Yes, Sigh, families want safety, education, community centres, etc, just like I do for my family. Which makes it a giggle since Pembina Trails has been whining about getting a new schools for ages now, and there are more community centres than you’d suspect in the non-suburb area of Winnipeg. And as for major business, hasn’t Investors Group, Great West Life, and Wellington West grown enough for you? Farm equipment manufacturers are exporting now, I saw the huge Russian Antonov load up three times this summer with MacDon equipment.

    And Don, please, enough about our bio-medical research leverage. Just look at the competition : I think more people are in North Carolina than can ever be attracted here. I would, however, easily settle for picking a niche and develop it fully, be it vaccines or food research (two prime examples).


  29. Chris, you are stating the present obvious. Again, infill housing, mall development is the main thrust of your cataclysmic event. Not enough. I think comparing inner CC’s and suburban CC’s is tired. The point is this City was glued together and people like living where they live for whatever reason, with one exception, there are probably more people living in the core because of their life situation who would rather have the lifestyle of a suburbian, then suburbians wanting to move downtown.

    Anyhow, that argument isn’t progressive. Both if us can throw up arguments till the cows come home. There is no reason for living downtown. You need to create one.

    Investment houses are service companies that rely on money management. Neither of the 3 you have listed have had any major impact on the things you’d like to see, namely infill housing. Sure , they hire support staff and sales people, but , what are they making. How will they continue to grow ? Perhaps Investors grew 200 employees becasue BMO shed 200 employess I don’t know, I don’t care. But tell me you want to become a financial Center and show me how that would attract thousands to the core who would purchase or rent infill, new condos, etc., then I’d be interested.

    Macdon loading up Russian planes , Am i to get excited about that / Again, its good we have that bit of manufacturing but I wouldn’t point to Macdon when talking about a City of 600K plus. You may as well point out Kleysens, Kitchen Craft, Standard Aeor, Boeing. …I don’t get how that all translates to transforming the City.

    Kapyong, ya so what , Kapyyong. What are you going to do there that benefits the City for the next 50 to 100 years. What , more housing, another strip mall.

    BioMedecine, HUGE potential. I am for a Canadian Stem Cell Research Facility. Last I checked that spot was still open. We have the guts to take it ? I think we can attract about 300 scientists here with decent support paid staff in the hundreds for starters, possibly hitting 10000 as development moves ahead. But again, someone needs to investigate that.

    As for the University of Manitoba having an HSC presence, the point I was trying to make was that more could be done . Law Faculties, Business faculties, Science, Engineering , Arts ,. Social Sciences faculties all buried in a suburb don’t necessarily translate into more infill housing and activity in the core. They must be transplanted to take advantage of the obvious. There is a need to get those feet into the core everyday and night.

    Again we missed this opportunity in the early 90’s and we saw half a dozen to a dozen new buildings added to the campus, buildings which could have been located in the core. Now we see a football stadium, soccer facility, and student housing going in a campus that perhaps, with proper planning, could have assisted the core in a better way. We see a BRT with a price tag in the hundreds of millions being built to get to a campus that is in a suburb.

    Why should I take any green or environment group seriously when this contradiction to everything they stand for is allowed to proceed.

    My proposal isn’t easy or inexpensive. It would be very difficult, considering you have to change the mindset of so many who think its impossible. But can you sit there and honestly see trains in the City in the next 50 years. The point is, you have to address the issue before you lay out a plan, you can’t ignore it while drawing up the plans. Kinda like forgetting about the front door and porch when drawing up a house. Sure you can use the ladder up against the wall at the back of the house but surely the plans should show a front door .

    All I want is an honest study into the issue. Last I checked the UofM faculty responsible for churning out planners, architects, civil engineering etc have not even looked at the subject. That shows me why we are screwed.

    The way I see it, Fort Rouge is going to grow therefore we have to service it because the university is there and its getting the attention. It makes no sense going forward.

    One more time….whats your catalyst ? It doesn’t have to be easy, or cheap, it just has to demonstrate an ability to transform the City into something more compact and progressive going forward. Something that 50 years from now, people can look back and say, that was a good move. If the City had made this type of move in the mid 80’s – 25 years ago, we wouldn’t be talking about these issues now and the costs would have been a fraction. Can we say the same thing in 25 years.

  30. Good call, Sigh, especially the bit about more people downtown want to live in the suburbs than vice versa. Also, I agree completely with your assessment about the university having switched from adding academic buildings to stadia and housing…I never thought of that before. Please, when I say downtown, I really don;t mean the traditional version of where all the one-way streets are…I include St Boniface, St James, even Garden City in my viewpoint, basically any area not on the outside of the City. I worry most about infrastructure and the appalling lack of it in Winnipeg. LRT would be nice, but to me all it encourages is sprawl. Strip malls are not bad compared to a huge freakin’ IKEA and it ilks either, but your point is well taken. The problem, people have been led to believe that suburban lifestyle is the best lifestyle by media, society, etc…and follow what they know.

    Moving the rails would be a big catalyst, I agree. Knocking down the Post Office and creating a large parkade with a row of store at its base could be doable if 20 surface lots are rezoned for development, either commercial or residential. Build three more concert halls (I’d dsy holding from 300-600 people), one in Westwood, one in East Kildonan, one in south Pembina for use by local bands and theatre groups to hone their crafts and create entertainment subcultures in those areas. Create a minor hockey tournament like Edmonton has, where families are invited and is supported by the local hospitality industry.

    Give employers a partial rebate on payroll tax if employees are staying a particular length of time. Drop the price of a bus pass by 25% to encourage ridership. Stem Cell research sounds good, but according to Winnipeg doesn’t seem to be on the map, but great idea to find a niche element to specialize in. Heres an excerpt from the latest StatsCan job figures: “Employment gained ground, however, in health care and social assistance; and in professional, scientific and technical services”. Let’s go there!

    Also…from City of Austin :What incentives are offered to businesses currently located or considering moving into downtown? Projects developing in the urban watersheds, including the downtown, are granted a 50% reduction in fees for zoning, rezoning, subdivision and site development permit (site plan) applications.

    And here’s a blurb from a London, ON paper: Planning rules have been eased and taxes removed to encourage development of residences in the core. Laws have been written to prevent office skyscrapers from being built outside the core. Grants have been made available by various agencies to redevelop apartments above retail space and improve retail facades. The list is endless.

    Hundreds of millions of dollars in public money have been invested in such institutions as the John Labatt Centre, the Covent Garden Market, the Central Library, the Convention Centre, the Central Y and the VIA Rail station — all because community leaders, private and public, know a healthy downtown means a healthy city — a healthy region.

    So a steady dose of grants and tax breaks to business, followed by some building restriction are a start. Losing some old eyesore buildings (sorry, Don) would also help. An increased police presence could help, as well as some significant aborginal investment. The whole city could gain.

  31. Good ideas Chris. As for the LRT, the intent is to bring people to the core, rather then a BRT that takes them out of the Core.

    Again, I can see no serious discussion about the City of the future. We live with what we have and grow outwards. Thats not a solution.

    A healthy downtown means lots of people circulating, preferably on foot. That means creating something. I think Montreal refashioned St. Denis and Prince Arthur over a decade or so ago.

    Old Montreal is a dream. All of it is pedestrian friendly. Its all very easy to copy and imitate.

    For the life of me, i still can’t understand why the streets aren’t shut down in the market. Hell throw in Corydon and the Village in summer.

    So bring the people in and business will flourish. Government needs to have a plan and stop this hillbilly look we have going for us.

  32. And yes, we aren’t on the map for Stem Cell Research, the logical question is

    WHY NOT ?

    And if our illustrious academia can’t figure it out maybe we should just build it and attract institutes from outside the province and country.

  33. Good ideas from Sigh and Chris. I’ll avoid repeating what was said and just comment back @ Chris:

    Which eyesore buildings should we knock over before building over surface lots?

  34. The ones on King and Princess that stand alone and scream “derelict!” That would be a great centre for a large parkade like I’m thinking of. Then some apartments. maybe the WRHA employees and Red River instructors will want to move close to work. Offer land swaps for the minor industrial section between Main and Waterfront to get them out of there too. I think that physically, the core downtown is just too big! All those old warehouses were built on spec, meant to stand as investments that never came, honor them sure, but they detract from any possible beauty that can be created downtown. nobody wants to live in a rundown museum. And as evil as it may sound, the Old Masonic Temple (you know, the one where it was found to be too expensive to get to code) so go as well. Honor it, take pictures, then remove it! No parking lot, a mixed use building, three storeys, top two 1-bedroom suites. A dream.

  35. Okay. I do agree that not all historic buildings are of equal value. But, I would still prefer to put new buildings in place of empty surface lots.

    Still, I’d be open to knocking over many buildings if it were for a good replacement. Case by case basis.

    King & Princess have some really good character. Which buildings did you have in mind?

  36. Sign of things to come and opportunity’s lost.

    Nobody would touch this in the last 8 years with Bush but now that Obama is on board, the flood gates will open.

    Too late, so sad too bad, lets keep playing nockabuildingdown, the creativity overwhelms me.

  37. Interesting article in FreeP about the Siemens Center. Funny , in this town, IKEA gets treated like the babe who winks at you in high school and flashes you a peek, yet, this potentially massive project gets almost zero ink. Nothing like ignoring it to spark the imagination.

    Where’s the discussion, where’s the media, where’s the input ( bloggers ). Its as if it doesn’t exist.

    Interesting highlights, they make mention of great synergies between Uof M – Medical faculty and HSC, duhh, you think. Maybe we should repeat that with every faculty, and it won’t cost us a 1/2 Bill BRT.,,,ok,,,seems to me the experiment works. Bring University Faculties downtown and you get way more leverage and use out of them. Its an environmentalists dream come true and as Green as you can get.

    Hotel being built, in the core area. Pretty nifty even if that news came out more then a year ago.

    High technology – fantastic stuff and the Virology lab gets a mention, from 50 /60 bodies to 500 now. Amazing growth, and again, no one is reporting it. I tell ya, this is an amazing opportunity for that whole quadrant and should be a cornerstone to any Plan that is designed for the next 25 years.

    What makes it sadder is I saw the potential when the lab was first built, yet planners don’t seem to recognize the area or want to deal with it. They just let it grow on its own without any specific guidelines or vision.

    This is the type of catalyst we need to invest in. It brings well paying jobs to the City, free advertising, redevelopment of an urban area that needs it. Streamlining how we educate and transport ourselves.

    Screw it, the article excites my neurons and the imagination lights up with possibilities.

    I still think we can own the monicker Stem Cell Research Center of Canada, gonna fire off a few emails.

  38. Sigh, good call. The Siemens Institute is already committed to “Operating Room of the Future” which is a really good research dynamic, and the mission statement is “The Siemens Institute is intended to facilitate clinical research that will have a direct impact on people’s lives in the short term. The Institute will also provide a vehicle to support recruitment and retention of academically minded clinicians. While the Institute will broadly support all medical disciplines at HSC, activity will focus on becoming a centre of excellence for “the brain” and infectious diseases. ”

    Infectious diseases means use of the virology lab, and “the brain” has many possibilities, so don’t give up hope yet.

    And Don, thanks for calling me out. I realize I’ve been doing a little too much yapping without trying to back it up, which I apologize a little for. I went to the Winnipeg Heritage site and wrote down the names of a few places downtown, concentrating mostly on houses and “Early Agricultural/Industrial Buildings”. They seem like good candidates to me, but I will take a look. I was a little surprised (pleasantly, I will say) that there are spots like Artspace who have used the areas`older building in good spirit. I don`t have a problem with that, gut the old Masonic Temple, I`m sorry to say, has become a abandoned eyesore who`s history must be kept in books and off of the street.

    More later…

  39. @Chris: Good to hear some specific on buildings. I look forward to what you come up with.

  40. Hello, Don…i did take a look at some buildings, and I concentrated along Princess and King since I travel along there frequently to get to EK and the like…some points I’d like to make:>

    1. There are a few “heritage” sites that look cleaned up and have undergone the condo treatment…it doesn’t change the overall run-down old look of the buildings, but getting people downtown isn’t bad, I guess, but I wonder what the asking price is. Still, I admit to being unaware as to how many projects like this were underway.

    2. The Plug-in Gallery building looks bad. Graffiti, old old old extgerior, all in a spot that could be a decent entryway to the Exchange by anyone exiting the Burton Cummings or any spot in the area. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the Plug-in Gallery is a vital part of Winnipeg’s arts scene…but the building they’re in lets them down.

    3. Also, what to happen to Penthouse Furniture’s old digs? It’s “heritage” once again, but I do not know it’s future. Is it targeted by RRC or UofW? It could be a great residence hall…

    4. I was mostly displeased by the amount of wasted space just west of the area..leaving King/Princess on Bannatyne or William is just depressing with run-down buildings and crappy parking lots…huge potential for building here. Probably even higher than any buildings to be knocked down…

    and finally, My biggest problem with these heritage buildings is probably political. After the fiasco on Pacific Street where a last minute heritage designation was handed out to subvert a legal property sale in order to force a businessman to sell to a government-sponsored agency after he had cleaned up the building having no opportunity to revert back to his original factory use….that got me mad. Maybe it’s just bad publicity on the part of heritage, but it does seem like a racket sometimes.

    Still, where the Plug-in gallery is located and the former Masonic temple should go…

  41. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for getting back to us on specifics. I would certainly agree with a few points of yours:

    (1) if a building is to be designated “heritage”, that designation should be made as soon as possible and with specifics as per what parts of the building are protected and what uses are justified. Without adequate information in advance, its difficult to plan proper uses of the locations.

    (2) Penthouse Furniture is an excellent site for housing and would complement the condos already in the area and cement the Exchange as a living neighborhood.

    (3) I’ll have to look into Plug-In some more and get back to you.

    (4) West of the Exchange is the area that really needs re-working. There are some very poorly maintained homes, loads of under-used and un-used space and may too many empty lots. Taking the area between the Exchange and HSC and doing a complete re-furbishing is necessary. Look at my posts on the new Logan and see that those areas just off the exchange have horrendous turnout in elections that also matches horrendous poverty. If the downtown is to thrive, it needs healthy communities both inside the center and surrouding it. Look also at the area near Whittier Park just accross the river for PD and Waterfront Drive. Almost nothing there and right on top of the city center.

  42. Regarding point 4 … Concentrating on that neighborhood could provide a decent link between “downtown” and HSC and its dream of being a worldwide centre….problem is, who is going to tell the people living there that their neighborhood isn’t up to snuff? Not exactly a political career move….

  43. Chris: Telling the truth can often be a good move for a politician. If a local resident stood up and said “We need better community development like in the Spence Neighborhood Association” and “We need to improve services, housing”, it could sell. If said politician said “This place is a dump”, it wouldn’t. Message can often betray intent.

  44. Good point, maybe a little optimistic musing could sell.

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