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Mayoral Candidates on Homes and Land-Use

Over the course of the Winnipeg mayoral campaign, various candidates have offered positions on zoning, homes, planning, and land-use policy. Here’s a recap.

Rick Shone 

  • Ending Parking Mandates: Shone has called for an end to parking mandates for new builds, such as homes and businesses.
  • Stiffer penalties on vacant properties: Shone is calling for stiffer penalties on vacant properties. These measures would include a two per cent tax on vacant properties, with revenue generated from this going to affordable housing initiatives.
  • Arrival Strategy for Indigenous migrants to Winnipeg: Shone has pledged to work on an Indigenous-led Arrival Strategy for Indigenous migrants to Winnipeg. Through the Indigenous Relations Division at the City of Winnipeg, this strategy would entail working with Indigenous governments and the Province and Federal Government to to create a more integrated framework of supports for Indigenous people moving to Winnipeg. This would include linking people with services such as temporary housing.
  • Urban & Downtown Development: In this section of his platform, Shone promises to enhance the quality of life in Winnipeg’s neighbourrhoods by encouraging density and infill, improving the appearance of the city, and making biking, walking and public transit more convenient and accessible, while making downtown more attractive by providing amenities such as schools, grocery stores, and daycares. Shone proposes to work with the Province and Feds to create incentives for builders to include green spaces, such as community gardens and rooftop gardens, in their downtown projects.

Chris Clacio

Clacio made a number of position statements in the Spatial Planning for the future of Health Downtown Heritage and Renewal section of his platform. These include

  • Zoning Reform & Infill Policy: Merge or abolish the downtown zoning by-law, removing parking minimums, and abolish single-family only zoning to be replaced by mixed -use zoning, including inclusionary zoning measures such as density bonusing. Establish large-scale infill and high rise residential development guidelines.
  • Convert surface parking lots to affordable housing: Build partnerships with the non-profit housing sector to convert downtown surface parking lots into mixed-use housing developments as part of establishing a Housing First strategy for the downtown.
  •  Repurpose vacant downtown offices for affordable housing: Policy to renovate vacant offices to be converted into rent geared to income housing.
  • Enhance Innovation Alley: Expand Innovation Alley to be a global entrepreneurial hub for research, civic governance, innovation and the arts.
  • Make Downtown a Complete Community: Create more active living spaces in downtown with a nightlife strategy and facilitate a grocery store.
  • Just and Equitable Economic Future Downtown: Clacio pledges to promote and invest in technological gig and shared knowledge economies through building and developing a downtown that is welcoming and invites all citizens to live, play or work downtown town no matter race, country of origin, religion, or gender.

Shaun Loney

Loney has issued a number of positions on infill, housing, and land-use through his platform releases on residential infill, homelessness, and tax reform.

  • Establish an Infill Compliance Team: This Team would react to complaints and conduct more random inspections to ensure compliance with development rules. The cost for this enforcement would be offset with higher permit fees and fines for repeat offenders.
  • Launch a Considerate Developer Program: Infill developers, contractors and suppliers would voluntarily register with this program. This would entail agreeing to abide by a code of conduct jointly devised by civic officials, residents from mature neighbourhoods with many infill projects, and the industry. The Code of Conduct would require registered projects to go beyond minimum by-law and building codes to improve community relations across many dimensions (construction site appearance, protection of trees, notification of neighbours, noise and dust control, limiting street and back lane blockage, etc).
  •   Incentives for Infill Projects to include amenities: Loney has pledged added incentives for infill projects to install electric vehicle home chargers, provide secure bike storage, include care shares, and build near transit routes.
  • Sponsor Infill Design Excellent Awards: City Council would sponsor two Infill Design Excellence Awards under the annual Parade of Homes operated by the Manitoba Home Builders Association. One would focus on single-detached infill projects and the other would focus on multi-unit builds.
  • Create a Local Infill Development Benefits Fund: This fund would direct a portion of new revenue from infill projects to local improvements identified by community residents, such as new greenspace and recreation spaces.
  • Program to house homeless individuals within a year: Through a partnership between City Emergency Services and nonprofits, homeless persons living in temporary shelters and camps will be housed within a year.
  • Establish a Commercial Surfacing Parking Tax: This tax would encourage using land for higher value uses.
  • Broaden exemptions to parking minimums

Scott Gillingham

Gillingham has made a many position announcements on infill and housing in his releases on safe spaces and infill development over commercial sites.

  • Increase and extend funding for Winnipeg’s 24/7 Safe Space Grant Program: Gillingham promises to increase funding to support another 24/7 Safe Space site in the North End in addition to the two existing Safe Spaces. Safe spaces are a drop in site for the homeless and those at-risk. Gillingham promises to increase funding to the two existing sites gradually to improve service capacity and renew the existing grants to 2026, as funding expires in 2023 under current plans. The Gillingham campaign estimates the incremental cost through Operating Expenses over four-years will be $650,000 and through the Community Rent Credit will be $200,000 over four-years.
  • Allow more residential construction by-right along the Pembina Highway & Portage Avenue commercial zones: Gillingham pledges to allow residential builds as-of-right, with no parking minimums, over existing commercial sites on Pembina Highway and Portage Venue. Existing C2 and C2 zoning rules already allow for up to four stories of commercial construction on these corridors. New mixed-use zoning rules for these corridors would permit taller housing builds, as long as these sites maintain a commercial street front. If successful, this approach would be extended to other major corridors.
  • Allow more residential construction over medium nd large retail malls: Gillingham promises to allow residential builds over medium and large retail malls, by-right, on the condition of setbacks to minimize impacts on nearby residents.
  • New tender to build affordable housing over Portage Place: Under a Gillingham mayoralty, Winnipeg would launch a new tender for affordable housing construction over Portage Place. This is in response to an effort to build 500 homes over Portage Place faltering amid confusion over affordable housing incentives offered by different levels of government. Gillingham would work with other governments, the Forks (who owns the land Portage Place is on), and Indigenous partners to tender a common aid package to any qualified bidder.
  • Review barriers to office-to-residential conversion: Gillingham would request that City Council’s Property & Development Committee hold immediate public hearings to review any barriers to office-to-residential conversions.

Jenny Motkaluk

  • Get more rental housing open:  In a tweet, Motkaluk states Winnipeg needs to “help property owners get more rental housing open”. In a submission to the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board, Motkaluk said she will support owners who charge affordable rents and encourage renovation of vacant houses and apartments to get them rented out to people who need a home.
  • Less Restrictive Zoning Rules: In a submission to the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board, Motkaluk states she opposes restrictive zoning regulations and impact fees on infill.

Dr. Robert Falcon-Ouellette

  • Encourage Redevelopment of Empty Lots & Downtown Surface Parking with tax changes: In a release, Dr. Robert Falcon-Ouellette pledges to assess and tax downtown surface lots as if a four-storey building stood their. There would be new assessment guidelines for vacant residential, commercial, and industrial lots as well.
  • Introduce minor zoning variances: As part of his Community of Innovation proposal, Falcon-Ouellette is pledging to introduce minor zoning variances for individuals and community groups to test new ideas on a small scale.
  • Make Community Gardens on Public Land easier to establish: As part of his Child Friendly City policy, Falcon-Ouellette is proposing to make community gardens on public land easier to set up.

Don Woodstock 

Woodstock has housing proposals listed in his platform.

  • Improve permitting: Woodstock is proposing to reduce permit fees and get building permit applications approved in 3-4 weeks instead of 6-8 weeks as part of his measures to deal with vacant properties in the core area.
  • Amalgamate Property, Planning, and Development with Community By-Law Enforcement
  • High Priority for Renovations & New Builds in the Core with support: The City will lend up to 50% of the value of vacant properties at 2 per cent interest higher than what the city borrows and is paid back over 20 years. Responsible owners/renovators will be eligible for assistance.
  • Create an Action Team to work on safe places and affordable housing: This team would work on creating safe places and affordable housing, including lobbying and working with the federal and provincial governments.

Idris Ademuyiwa Adelakun

  • Focus on Infill: The infrastructure section of Adelakun’s platform notes residential infill housing allows WInnipeggers to access public transit better than spawl-oriented development.
  • Address homelessness: The address social issues section of Adelakun’s platform pledges to address homelessness alongside other social issues.

Rana Bokhari

As part of her five-point plan to make Winnipeg the most age-friendly city in Canada, Bokhari has made some proposals on housing.

  • New multi-residential builds to include main floor allocations for seniors
  • Incentive to bundle some plots: Encourage developers to sell some plots in new developments together for multi-generational homes.
  • Mandatory Accessible considerations in new builds: These would include measures like standard accessible washrooms in apartments, railings, and slip-proof bathtubs among others.
  • Reduce red tape for multi-generational homes: Bokhari pledges to reduce red tape around renovations or developments for multi-generational families as well as permits to upgrade current homes (i.e. ramps).

In a press release, Bohari also suggested a straight-up parking tax requiring simple provincial approval is preferable to assessing parking lots as if buildings stood on them.

Desmond Thomas 

In his campaign goals, Thomas has housing proposals.

  • Immediate housing services: Pledges to provide immediate housing services, temporary or long-term. to those displaced and on the street.
  • Permanent low income/no income housing: Promises to implement permanent low income/no income housing for those with mental illness, substance addiction, and those who are homeless.

Glen Murray 

  • Comprehensive neighbourhood housing plans: In his top five priorities, Murray pledges to restore comprehensive, funded neighbourhood housing plans and community development partnerships.
  • Expand the mandate of the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation: In his plan to deal with inner city violence, Murray proposes giving the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation the mandate, authorities, and resources similar to CentreVenture to organize the selling and redevelopment of land and buildings and to act as  a housing trust to provide land for affordable housing initiatives.
  • Review zoning hearing process: Murray pledges to establish a Governance Review Working Group which will, among other things, review zoning hearings and other public facing decision–making and consultation processes.

Jessica Peebles

  • Affordable Housing: Pledges to support measures to help students and seniors find affordable housing.
  • Reform bylaws to allow more naturalized lawns: In a tweet Peebles promised to rrole back measures that penalize those who plant non-grass vegetation in their yards.

Kevin Klein

  • Establish Advisory Group to address homelessness: Klein pledges to establish an advisory group that would address homelessness. This group would be made up of non-profit representatives, councillors and city staff and would advise Winnipeg City Council and the public service on homelessness.
  • Make it easier to demolish vacant houses and build affordable housing: In a tweet, Klein pledges to make it easier to demolish vacant houses and to simplify the process for building affordable housing.

Govind Thawani

Unable to find any campaign statements on housing and land-use as of September 6th, 2022.

Vincent Gabriele

Unable to find any campaign statements on housing and land-use as of September 6th, 2022.

Image Credit: Ccyyrree/Wikipedia

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