Recap: YIMBY Winnipeg Organizing Meeting of July 9, 2019

Our latest meeting was at a location a bit north of our usual locations. Despite the less central location and intense rainshowers, people showed up and we managed to have some good discussions on what to do ahead of the City’s fall infill consultations.

We recapped some recent events. For instance, we discussed Jason Syvixay’s informal discussion on infill in Edmonton. Edmonton is very proactive about infill development, with a target of 25 per cent of new developments being infill and a large contingent of Planning Department staff dedicated to infill. Syvixay sees planning staff resources dedicated to infill as crucial for its success and mediating tensions between stakeholders. Winnipeg at the moment has very little in the way of staff resources dedicated exclusively to infill and there are concerns that our planning department is dis-empowered.

We also discussed recent news in Oregon. In that US State, the legislature passed a bill to end single-family only zoning in cities with more than 25,000 residents. This will allow higher-density developments by-right in formerly single-family only zones. We also discussed some of the politics behind this, including alliances between tenants rights activists and local YIMBY groups in Oregon.

We also noted that Heritage Conservation Districts are spreading in Winnipeg and it seems they are being weaponized to oppose infill development.

Finally, in our recap of recent news we noted that Right to Housing Coalition in Manitoba is doing more organizing and that there are concerns Manitoba Housing may be moving towards selling off its affordable housing stock.

What YIMBY Winnipeg is doing

  • At our latest meeting we identified specific people to reach out to specific groups already active in the housing space.
  • We set up a communications working group that will get the message out about the need to support density increasing infill.
  • Refined our asks for the Residential Infill Strategy and decided that our Residential Infill Strategy working group would finalize our asks. Then, we will distribute these to supporters.
  • Decided to work on a comprehensive document listing the benefits of infill.

YIMBY Winnipeg in the news

We’ve appeared in the news twice recently. Both times in stories about Heritage Conservation Districts and what they mean for Infill.

On July 11, our spokesperson Dylon Martin had an interview with 680 CJOB. He talked about how Heritage Conservation Districts can be used to thwart infill projects and also discussed the benefits of infill. He made note of “smart growth” (growing up, not out, as a city) and that infill’s not just a downtown thing – there’s many inner suburbs were density would be a plus.

You can listen to the interview through CJOB’s audio vault.

CJOB Audio Vault 
Audio Date: July 11, 2019
Audio Time: 8:00 AM
Minute: Around 37:28

As well, Dylon Martin had an interview with the Winnipeg Sun on infill. The story, “Councillor wants to block infill project in St. Vital neighbourhood“, appeared on the Sun website Saturday. Martin reiterated that fairness in permitting infill developments was important, so the City should be consistent in allowing infill throughout mature communities.A version of this article appeared in the July 14th print edition of the Winnipeg Sun, titled “Councillors split over splitting”.