Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Here is a cut n' paste of a letter I sent to the Editor of the Free Press this morning regarding a story on painting over a "graffiti-laced" 91 Albert Street (Mondragon cafe and books). I'm just getting lazier and lazier when it comes to updating here, I apoligize.

Re: Angry councillor wants graffiti removed.

It is absurd that councillor Mike Pagtakhan and the Exchange District BIZ would go after a building that plays such a large role in the area's vibrancy, just for having a few graffiti tags on their facade. Does the BIZ have nothing else to do? Is there not bigger problems facing Pagtakhan's ward? They might say the graffiti tags on 91 Albert are an eyesore, but I wonder how many of the people of all ages and economic groups that enjoy lunch at the Mondragon or get their bikes fixed at the Natural Cycle, are actually bothered by the graffiti.

Several years ago, when most people were still afraid to walk in the Exchange District, 91 Albert and it's many uses were a hub of activity day and evening. Today, the building still serves as a vital part of an increasingly busy District.

A busy cafe with many people coming and going, and friendly people sitting on the steps does more to revitalize a street and a neighborhood than any coat of paint could ever do. If councillor Pagtakhn and the BIZ actually wanted a vibrant Exchange District, they would be working with the people at 91 Albert Street, not against them. Sadly, it seems, they care more for an Orwellian vision of a sterilized, controlled, and boring city.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More on the St. Annes widening

There are a couple of follow ups to the previous post that should be mentioned.

The first is that Mayor Katz is now considering letting go of the Civic Environment Committee. Perhaps city councillor and Mayor yes-man Gord Steeves is relieved there will no longer be a conflict of interest in chairing a committee that made reports against suburban sprawl while cutting the ribbon on new sprawl at the same time. Phew, no more pretending to care about Winnipeg's environmental and financial sustainability anymore...

The second is that, according to the Corners page in the Winnipeg Free Press (which appears every Wednesday), the $3M for the St. Annes road twinning was paid for by the developer of a strip mall built along that stretch. But the City (you and me) will be paying them back in 2008, as well as paying for the repairs the road will need in the coming years. But who knows, maybe by 2008, Winnipeg will be so awash in extra cash because of the widened tax base low-density suburban development gives us, and by not having to pay for wasteful things like Civic Environment Committees.