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Winter comes alive!
Plant a butterfly garden
Time to clean up the swamp at city hall
Dorothy Dobbie I
t is time for city councillors to step up to the plate and change the corporate culture that is killing our city.
Every time I speak with an indi-
vidual, a business or an organiza- tion about their dealings with the city, I hear very concerning stories of obstruction, intimidation, even coercion. Why aren’t there stories about these problems in the popular me- dia? Because the offending bureau- crats outright threaten individuals by saying, “If you go to the media, you’ll never get your permit (or whatever).” Some of the actions taken by bullying
these bureaucrats have
huge and costly implications; oth- ers are small and petty, but no less damaging. Some of the decisions are so unreasonable that they ap- pear personal, seemingly designed to seek out revenge or to impose personal vendettas. They are often arbitrary.
Over regulation and over charging
Regulations and legislation are misinterpreted to the detriment of the citizen. The application of these unchallenged
has established precedent that has now become unquestioned “law”. There
are many examples costly of overregulation. In Win-
nipeg, a developer must submit future development plans (called precinct plans) for vetting by the system. While there was, no doubt, a valid reason for this at one time, the practice has become a deterrent to development for several reasons. One issue
is unreasonable delay. Another reason is the city’s prac- City Boulevards are unkempt with crumbling curbs and no grass.
tice of immediately assessing the property under the proposed plan as if the development had already been completed. In other words, if there are 10 acres of former farm- land valued at $3,000 an acre and the development would increase that value to $10,000 an acre, the would-be developer is required to begin paying taxes at the higher rate that would be assessed once the development was complete, even if development won’t take place for years.
How to cripple a project Local developers know this, so
their strategy is never to reveal their plans until the last minute. The pre- cinct plan fees, the say, would crip- ple any project. As a result, they also release their plans on a piecemeal
basis, meaning that adjacent devel- opment can be conflicting and even costly due to lack of comprehensive planning for infrastructure, etc. Development
fees are applied
more than once: The city charges a fee to vet the plans. Each plan is assigned a city planner, who may make small or significant changes to the plan. That City Planner may have been changed by the time a plan is adjusted and brought back again for review. The new City planner may have a different per- spective and so sends the plan back again. Each time a fee is assessed. A decade ago, the fee was $2,500 for each change. Today it is $65,000! How can such a usurious increase even be legal?
u 6 ‘City Hall'
cess, values, and viability of their home to local people and to visitors who come to visit the com- munity. When the Manitoba Centennial Centre was opened in March 1968, the facility was an ex- pression of pride in our ability to thrive in Mani- toba. The Manitoba Centennial Centre looked to the future with a modern design, a space to create a museum of our history, a planetarium, and a Centennial Concert Hall. The Centennial Concert Hall was designed as a multi-purpose hall and intended to showcase the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Opera, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as well as present other events and community groups when needed. The opening night was a huge celebration of the his- tory of Canada, Manitoba, and Winnipeg. The concert hall itself was designed as a multi- purpose hall that could be suitable for presenta- tions of ballet, opera, and the symphony. In order to create the acoustical environment needed for symphony orchestra performances, a complex and
C u 19 ‘Centennial Concert Hall’
ommunities around the world take pride in the central performance and presenta- tion space that helps to present the suc-
Flin Flon hub of artistic energy
The Centennial Concert Hall: fifty years of service and in need of some TLC
The Winnipeg Concert Hall was opened 51 years ago. Trudy Schroeder
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