Friday, May 18, 2007

Cheaper isn't better

There are plenty of good reasons not to vote for the NDP next Tuesday the 22nd (or ever). One of these (and one that hasn't been mentioned during this entire election campaign) to not vote for Gary Doer's NDP, is because they got into the real estate business when they concocted Waverly West; thinking that massive urban sprawl makes for good city planning. This was done to purposefully attempt to de-value Winnipeg's real estate market (which had only recently resurrected itself from a decade of dramatic deflation) for the purpose of keeping the inner city economically comatose and socially ghettoized. As they proudly announced on their website:
"...real estate prices keep rising based on the growing demand for quality housing, especially in urban centres. The development of Waverley West will provide more than 11,000 new homes, apartments and complexes. The Manitoba government's share of the profit from the land sale will be used to improve inner city housing in Winnipeg. The result will be more variety and greater housing choices for people at all income levels."

Waverly West is not the free market at work, Waverly West is government tampering with the free market to keep it de-valued; an attempt to essentially keep downtown and central Winnipeg "on assistance", thus ensuring that it will not be financially lucrative for private developer's dollars to fully invest in housing downtown or anywhere north of Portage Avenue without some kind of publicly-funded assistance or tax-tweaking. (The toney Ship Street Village condos on Waterfront Drive, while decidedly a good thing, received funding from Winnipeg Housing and Homelessness Initiative.) A market where property is worth something, might give people other than slumlords a reason to buy a house in the North End, or for Exchange District property owners to do something with their heritage buildings besides letting them rot as they dream of demolishing them for parking lots.

And so, for the "pro-downtown", "pro-transit", and "pro-smart growth" politicians like the NDP-backed Councillor Jenny Gerbasi or mayoral candidate Marianne Cerelli; or the young, aspiring urban planners out there who will vote for the NDP (or work as their hacks) because it's the "just" thing to do, what defense can they come up with for a party that thought massive urban sprawl in Winnipeg is good urban planning?

That is, besides "b-but, the Tories woulda' done the same thing."


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