POSTPONED: YIMBY Winnipeg meetings and events

Given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, YIMBY Winnipeg will be postponing upcoming events and stopping our in-person monthly meetings.

We will resume normal organizing activities when public health authorities have determined that a return to normalcy is warranted.

YIMBY Winnipeg, established in February 2019, is an over one year old organization. We’ve done meaningful advocacy aimed at influencing the course of the City of Winnipeg’s policy and guidelines around infill and land use issues. Our plans were to build on the momentum for our second year, including by holding public events that gave information and a positive perspective on infill. This was deemed especially important as the City of Winnipeg moved forward with the Residential Infill Strategy.

We’ve had success in the first quarter of 2020 building on our momentum from last year and being a positive voice in the infill conversation. In February we held a wildly successful Infill Valentines campaign, which let homeowners and tenants know that folks in Winnipeg appreciate the way infill households add to the community. In February we also held a secondary suite workshop that attracted many professionals and homeowners interested in what secondary suites could mean for themselves personally and for their neighbourhoods. It was covered by CTV news.

It is with serious consideration that we have come to the decision to suspend in-person organizing activities, including a Housing Plus community forum on infill we had planned for April 6th. We were and still are very excited about the Housing Plus forum, which we planned to hold at the Ralph Brown Community Centre and we hoped would be convenient for people in nearby neighbourhoodsd to attend. A lot of neighbourhoods around the Ralph Brown Community Centre have had a less prominent voice in the conversation on infill in Winnipeg and this was something we hoped to help change.

However, public health experts the world over are advising people on the need to “flatten the curve“, that is, slow the spread of COVID-19 so hospitals are not overwhelmed with sick patients all at once. As the situation unfolds, the expert opinion on COVID-19 becomes more dire. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11th. Mass gatherings are discouraged and many jurisdictions are encouraging people who can work from home to do so.  As of March 16, there were seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba and, given the lack of mass testing, there could be many, many more.

Many organizations, including major sports leagues, are postponing events. Some groups have rescheduled events for the fall. Given how fast changing our understanding of COVID-19 is and the lack of a clear timeline of what the transmission trajectory will be in Winnipeg, we are not comfortable offering a firm date for when YIMBY Winnipeg will resume normal activities. We will closely follow the lead of public health authorities and experts in making a decision on when a return to normalcy is warranted.

For now, our in-person organizing meetings and Housing Plus event is postponed indefinitely. This means our previously scheduled March 19th meeting is cancelled. We will, of course, hold the Housing Plus event at a later date.

While in-person organizing is suspended, we encourage YIMBY Winnipeg’s supporters to keep in touch with us, through email, Facebook or twitter, with ideas and suggestions for organizing. We will follow the COVID-19 news closely and hope for a speedy return to normalcy, but in the mean time we plan to increase our web-based organizing.

Thank you for your understanding,

Dylon Martin
YIMBY Winnipeg