Thursday, January 20, 2005

Yesterday the city’s Executive Policy Committee approved the Waverly West development, which will be built on a patch of farmland southwest of the city. No surprise there, despite the fact that nothing is yet known about the project. No one knows the population densities, the pace of development, where the schools and roads will go and who will pay for them, what part of River Heights will have a “freeway” cut through it, or how much money the City stands to gain. Nobody knows that. Nothing. That doesn’t matter.

It is surprising to see such reckless abandon coming from a government that rejected such investments as a rapid transit corridor because it was not a sound plan. Surprising to see such a quick and dramatic response to the “housing crunch” when so far only token gestures and smiles for the cameras have been given to the demand for downtown living. This is not only an acceptance of a nonplan, but it is a rejection of an actual plan: Plan Winnipeg.

This contoversial approval of the controversial suburb can be seen on page B1 in today’s controversial Free Press, written by the controversial, Thesaurus-deprived Mary Agnes Welch. Since no specifics of the suburb are known, none were provided. However some lovely platitudes of dense, walkable Waverly West neighbourhoods were given, perhaps in hopes of silencing Waverly West’s critics.

Of course everyone would like to have a cute neighbourhood where you could walk to get somewhere, rather than nowhere, where you can buy a litre of milk without having to drive, and where you meander along storefronts and busy sidewalk cafes. Who wouldn't want that? In theory, no one. In practise, apparently, everyone.

I found what I believe to be a sneak peak into Waverly West on the bottom of page A6 of today’s paper, a small article entitled “Condo plan rejected in new flip-flop”.

“Mayor Sam Katz and his cabinet (EPC) rejected plans for a controversial (there’s that word again!) condo project in Linden Woods yesterday, the latest in a series of flip-flops (a term that should be banished from the english language)... Residents said they were promised a school on the site, or at least single-family homes. The proposed duplexes and bungalows are too dense for the neighbourhood, they said. City planners recommended the project go ahead, but a committee of local councillors rejected plans to rezone the land after public outcry...”

That is the future of Waverly West. It is developers who do not build the services they promise, a City Hall with no planning capabilites or backbone, another tract of land underuse, and it is a population plagued by proufound cases of agoraphobia and xenophobia.

The real kicker will come when interest rates shoot up (nevermind gas prices,) and the only people buying homes in a bland suburb so far southwest of anything will be landlords looking to divide up giant dream homes for revenue property.


Anonymous REGC said...

So true. I don't see how Winnipeg can really fill out these new developments without people leaving the inncer city and flooding out there. I don't think that it is new people coming to the city, its just people moving around from one neighbourhood within the 'peg to the next. Winnipeg can't support this in my opinion, the cost of building new roads and schools and the such will just increase our current taxes, and leave the city with less money to put into existing infrastructure... great blog. Keep up the great articles.

10:53 PM  

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