Monday, June 30, 2008

A revision for Point Douglas

Dan Lett, on his The Sausage Factory blog, seems to misunderstand what I've been saying about the current condition of Point Douglas in regards to the stadium.

(If I wasn't so used to people telling me they know better than I what's good for my own neighborhood, and that I must be wearing rose-colored glasses if I like it here, I may be inclined to take offense to some of Mr. Lett's comments.)

Not once have I ever said that Point Douglas should be left alone, and that the good people here have enough among themselves to make the neighborhood reach its full potential. Businesses, residences, a hotel, water park, and new riverfront parks are all wonderful things when designed for an urban context, and I don't think I have ever suggested that I wouldn't want a private individual doing any of those things here. There are many vacant sites in the neighborhood where these things can be done. (In principle, I would take private dollars over governments doing these things.)

Nor did I say that the neighborhood was fine the way it is. What I have been saying is that if any megaproject doesn't fit into the context of the neighborhood, it is not renewal, but destruction doomed to fail.

While everything else is conceptual, it is inescapably certain that a stadium is the cornerstone of this plan. This cannot be hidden no matter how many renderings are shown depicting riverfront promenades bustling with people and businesses, or how often Point Douglas are promised "community access" to new sports facilities, and that obnoxious truck yards would be replaced with inviting cafes.

Stadia have an incredibly poor record of ever stimulating any of this. Land values remain low, and parking becomes the primary land use because there is no financial incentive (and I mean the real incentive of making a profit, not the piddly lure of a tax credit, or of "doing good") to do anything more substantial than lay asphalt.

When it opened in 1982, the Metrodome "transformed" the slummy East Downtown of Minneapolis

If community activists, artists, new immigrants, old-timers, and regular joes like me that came here to escape Wolseley's high prices, can't rid Point Douglas of "slum landlords, transients and crack dealers" or build a "deep foundation", you think the Winnipeg Football Club can? Can a parkade revitalize the banks of the Red River better than a carefully restored house from the 1880s?

Related: Shills rush to defend stadium plan - TRU Winnipeg


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful RG, first they play you, then they put words in your mouth.

Caution is advised or you will lose all credibility.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the Aspers site:

"In terms of parking, once the planning process is complete, we expect that there would be as much as or more parking immediately beside the stadium as there is currently at Polo Park. There is also a huge inventory of parking in the area stretching back along Waterfront Drive to the Forks as well as to the west and north of the new facility."

Good Ol' Winnipeg, Urban Renewal one parking lot at a time.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Winnipeg, get your infrasturce together before embarking on this folly. How about starting with painting some lines on your streets like every other city in the western world.

9:36 PM  

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