FEEDBACK: Urgent meeting time & more

The Province of Manitoba is moving forward with a new bill that will empower a land-use body to overrule City decisions.

Let’s discuss it.

Image of a boardroom
Photo from Frank Schulenburg/Wikimedia

Bill 48 is before the legislature of Manitoba. It would give a municipal board, appointed by the province, the power to overrule City of Winnipeg and other municipalities’ decisions. Notably, property owners could appeal to the board to overrule decisions on “rejections of secondary plans, rezonings and subdivision approvals”. As the law is currently written, only property owners/developers could appeal decisions.

Giving a Municipal Board the power to overrule City decisions is not unprecedented in Canada. For many years, the Ontario Municipal Board – which was reformed and renamed the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal – had the power to overrule municipalities decisions on land use. It was notable for facilitating dense, transit-oriented infill development and basing decisions around planning principles. Unlike the Manitoba Municipal Board, however, the Ontario Municipal Board accepted appeals from not just property owners but also community groups.

Issues the expanded power of the Manitoba Municipal Board would hope to fix include cases where development issues cross multiple jurisdictions in the Winnipeg Capital Region. There is also hope for more consistency in decision-making on land-use, which can be very arbitrary and based on whims/lobbying. However, critics fear it will undermine democratic accountability.

The City of Winnipeg is seeking changes to the Bill, including allowing others to appeal the decision.

This could be huge for land-use, development and the future of Winnipeg. This is why we are asking you to fill out a survey. It asks

  • What is your position, if any, on an empowered municipal board?
  • What time can you meet to discuss this (initial suggestion: June 11th at 6 PM)?


Guest speakers at Last Meeting

Thanks to everyone who showed up to our May 27th meeting. If you tried attending through our link and were unable to, we are deeply sorry. We have been teleconferencing throughout the pandemic and for the first time ever encounter a technical issue with the transfer of an event. A key administrator was preoccupied and so the issue took longer than normal to troubleshoot.

A highlight of this meeting were talks from people with other YIMBY/urban groups. The three speakers were:

  • Anton Schieffer, an organizer with Neighbors for More Neighbors in Minneapolis. Schieffer talked about the Minneapolis 2040 Plan, which eliminates single-family only zoning in Minneapolis. Schieffer noted that a key aspect of the City of Minneapolis’s approach was reaching out to people often underrepresented in housing and land-use policy, including indigenous peoples, renters and low-income residents. You can follow him on twitter @anton612.
  • Connor Finney is a Regional Organizing Director for California YIMBY in the greater Los Angles Area. He discussed the important coalition-building he was working on in the Los Angles area, highlighting the example of work he’s done with farm worker organizers. You can follow him on twitter @LeftistConnor.
  • Joseph Kornelsen was the first president of Functional Transit Winnipeg. He discussed the importance of clear, focused and specific objectives when it comes to organizing around an urban issue. He noted you need to plan for the future and engage volunteers, as big change requires a marathon effort and long-term vision. You can find him on twitter @JosephKornelsen.

We discussed some other topics after our guest speakers. We noted some of the strain organizations doing renter advocacy/support are facing in Winnipeg right now.

Call for Feedback: Airport Area Plan

YIMBY Winnipeg is interested in feedback from property owners or residents who would like to age in place in the area west of Polo Park. Currently, the Airport Vicinity Protection Area (AVPA) plan bans new multifamily in an area from Polo Park up to the Winnipeg Airport. There is some interest in reviewing the quarter century old plan, which does not take into account improved noise control in aircrafts over the past 25 years.

City Council was set to vote on a spot amendment which would allow new multifamily, but only at the Polo Park mall. The Airport Authority opposed this spot amendment and is seeking to get the Municipal Board to look at the project. Where this decision will end up remains to be seen.

Make sure to sign up for YIMBY Winnipeg updates to stay in the loop!