Our topic-packed first meet & chat

Today, YIMBY WInnipeg had the first in a series of meet and chats. These meet and chats will hash out the basics of our group, what we see as the major issues and outline a path going forward.A major topic of discussion was the proposed City of Winnipeg Residential Infill Strategy. On the January 7th Planning & Property committee meeting, Winnipeg’s civil servants were directed to report back with a work plan implementation framework and budget. The City’s civil service is set to report back this Monday, February 4th.

The Residential Infill Strategy touches on many action items, but three are very important for density purposes. The first two could restrict density. Action Item One in the strategy is to “revise maximum lot coverage” to “ improve compatibility of infill with older homes in the neighbourhood”.  Action Item Four is to “adopt infill design guidelines,” and this seems to have been motivated by frequent complaints about “long, tall and skinny houses” by a small, motivated and vocal group of density opponents.

Action Item Five is to “develop density & intensification criteria”. This is an action item in the strategy that might help increase density, as it suggests developing a criteria for determining when to rezone neighbourhoods for higher density. However, it is filled with caveats that give cover to those who want to stop density.If you’re able to attend, the City’s Planning and Property committee meets at 510 Main St starting 9:30 am this Monday, Feb 4th. Planning & Property meetings can be very long, but a lot of topics relevant to infill housing are on the agenda.We also discussed the tactics of anti-density pressure groups and how they’ve had an impact on planning policy. The need for those who support density to get organized, mobilized and active to say Yes, In My Backyard was stressed.

The need for affordable and social housing was also discussed. Some strategies to educate people and soften Not In My Backward objections to affordable were touched on. There was curiosity about what the City’s approach to supporting affordable housing will be as well as discussion of good work community organizations have done on the front.The economics of infill, why certain types of developments make sense and the deterioration of the older housing stock was also discussed. The great need for renewal of some of the housing stock and the fact that old suburbs were denser in the past due to larger families were also key points of conversation.

Our next meeting is February 16th at Cousins Deli (55 Sherbrook St) starting at 1:00 PM. Spread the word so we can get organized and ready to say Yes In Winnipeg to density!  

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