Action: Attend a planning commission discussion hosted by city Councillor Kevin Klein

City Councillor Kevin Klein is holding an open discussion on the proposed Planning Commission. Councillor Brian Mayes will also be there. It’s being held tonight, Tuesday, July 23 at 6:30 PM in the Millennium Library (Buchwald Room, 2nd Floor). We encourage you to attend this event.

Currently, the City of Winnipeg has a somewhat Byzantine process for dealing with development. Decision-making is sprawled over various institutions at different stages of projects, such as the Board of Adjustment, Community Committees, the Appeal Committee, and the Property & Development Committee.

Winnipeg’s Planning Department provides expert input and advice, based on their work and communication with developers and residents, to all these bodies.

Community Committees, the Appeal Committee, and the Property & Development Committee all have City Councillors on them. Overseeing development disputes can eat away significant time. Fifteen hour Appeal Committee meetings not unheard of.

Councillor Klein believes councillors don’t have the expertise to adequately make decisions on these disputes. He’s pushing for a Planning Commission to do a lot of the work the various existing, councillor staffed, bodies do.

Klein suggests this Planning Commission will be made up of landscape designers, representatives of homeowners, developers and other stakeholders.

As a member of the Property & Development Committee, Klein has voted against infill developments like lot splits. Klein argues that without a Planning Commission the committee lacks an objective & independent view of the merits of infill projects. This suggests his approach is to slow down infill approvals until a Planning Commission is established.

Chair of the Property & Development Committee, Councillor Brian Mayes supports the idea of a Planning Commission. However, he believes Councillors should have final say over project approvals if appeals are launched. Mayes is also pushing for a Heritage Conservation District in Glenwood, which would make infill more difficult.

A motion asking Winnipeg’s Public Service to explore a Planning Commission passed the Property & Development Committee on April 1. The Property & Development Committee is set to take another look at the idea of a Planning Commission on Sept. 4.