YIMBY Winnipeg stepping forward on infill
YIMBY Winnipeg is speaking up & having an impact in the city.
Our last meet and chat was at Cousins Deli on March 15th. There we discussed the big challenges facing Winnipeg, like our overstretched city services budget and sprawl. Sprawl makes our tax base too small relative to our infrastructure, as sprawling developments require more infrastructure. One reason for this is that sprawling, outer suburban developments require us to build more roads and lay more pipes because they’re further away from existing infrastructure. The other reason is that because outer suburban developments are further from jobs and amenities, people need to drive more to meet their daily needs. Creating space to ensure people can travel with one tone of metal (automobiles) is very costly: parking spaces aren’t being used for more productive uses.
Taking this to heart, YIMBY Winnipeg advocates showed up to City Council’s Appeal Committee last Friday. Various infill housing projects were being opposed, but to best use our effort we focused on two appeals. One was the appeal against a surface parking lot redevelopment in West Broadway and the other was the redevelopment of the Academy Uptown Lanes building in North River Heights.
For both developments, parking ended up being a major concern. This was misguided. The West Broadway development was in a neighbourhood a few blocks from downtown where many people travel without the use of cars according to census data. The Academy Uptown Lanes redevelopment, which features residential as well as retail and office space, contained off site parking.
For both developments, YIMBY Winnipeg advocates spoke against the appeals and stressed the importance of efficient land use, creating a compact property tax base, and adding to the walkable, vibrant urban fabric. In both cases, the Appeals Committee rejected the appeals. Thus, both multi-family housing projects are going through!
There is a lot of work to do to nudge Winnipeg to follow a mixed-use density approach to development going forward. The Residential Infill Strategy, depending on its implementation details, could be a real hurdle to a denser Winnipeg. With more consultation on the strategy set for spring, there’s an ideal window for advocates of mixed-use density to organize and speak out.
This Thursday, March 28th at Cousins Deli (55 Sherbrook St) starting at 6 PM YIMBY Winnipeg will hold it’s first organizing meeting. It would be great if you could join us and get ready to push for mixed-use density!