Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back from the lake

No stadium yet. After a couple of weeks with no official news (aside from the getting a big thumbs down from the Planner's Network walking tour of Point Douglas last Friday), it may be that some people are listening too much to the silence that is coming from south Point Douglas. The speculation is that the stadium plan is dead in the water, but I wouldn't yet rule it out entirely just yet.

What would be the best case scenario, is that the stadium for Point Douglas does die unceremoniously, and the neighborhood escapes a disastrous megaproject while garnering some free publicity. It's abysmal architecture aside, small 'infill' projects like You-cube condominiums (to be located across the street from the stadium's conceptual loading dock) could be what gradually spring up and add something to the neighborhod. If governments care for the south Point as they were prepared to when the stadium was imagined, doing away with the zoning regulations that make any kind of commercial venture other than tow-truck yards an exercise in self-castigation would be a good place to start.

If Creswin or any other biggish players want to build developments that add density and complexity to the area, and not thwart it, they should be free to pursue them, preferably without receiving favors from the government or any of their conditioning agencies.

As my corner grocer said in conversation with me this morning: "Some condominiums is nice--maybe water slide. But stadium is too big."

This scenario might be a let-down to cheerleaders looking for vision and transformation. Fear not. Jim Jaworski has assembled a delightful collection of local news clips on Youtube. Here, one can find all of the glories of the late 1980s--a time that Winnipeg had the Vision to Get Things Done. It's all there: Politically agreeable funding agreements, World Class facilities, physical transformation. On Portage Avenue, three blocks of a "desolate" commercial district were razed for a suburban superstructure--predictably backed by a tepid head of the Institute of Urban Studies.

At The Forks--obviously not a bad place in and of itself--a host of politicians gather for a hearty back-patting session, and where Mayor Bill Norrie offers what should rightfully be Winnipeg's new slogan:
"I don't think you'll see a proliferation of private sector development. A: because we don't really want that, and B: because it's slow to take place."

As we all know, these transformative projects ushered in a golden age for their immediately surrounding neighborhoods.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever did happen to Stan Kubuchek

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Jim Jaworski said...

I never noticed it before, but McCourt has a pocket square.

And Norrie's comment, in context probably was in reaction to talk of housing at The Forks, and some people wanting to keep as much of The Forks remain public space. Nothing wrong with that. I was against the Hotel being put up there. No need for the Inn to go there when there was soo much room between Portage & Graham Avenues.

Thanks for the compliment on the local news videos on YouTube.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank god for the Forks. Where would onetake out of town visitors had it not been built?

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating post on several levels, not least of which because of it has a sample of the good old days of TV news - what was, that, a full four and a half minutes worth of interview with a *professor* about the future of the City, with simple direct questions asked instead of junior-league, partisan attempts to find the next Watergate in an afternoon? I think you'd be hard put to find a quote longer than ten seconds on most newscasts these days, let alone an actual civilized discussion.

"People will use their cars - it's that sort of City." - Walker. Amusing.

The Norrie quote, however much it may have referred to other things, is just too rich a gem to ignore as a replacement for "One Great City." 'Winnipeg: We Don't Really Want Private Sector Development."

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the subject of not wanting private sector development, there's a mural of Karl Marx, seemingly commissioned by the West End Biz, being painted on the side of Ellice Avenue's Samson Insurance, which sells government-monopoly car insurance just a couple of blocks north of the behemoth that is the government-monopoly liquor store on Portage.

A mural? We can do better than that! Why not a 15-foot statue of Marx at City Hall?

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silly Tories.

Marx rules! If we had a Marxist government I would assure you that Winnipeg would have a Subway and Dallas Hanson would be our leader.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>"A mural? We can do better than that! Why not a 15-foot statue of Marx at City Hall?"<<

Because statues are used to honor dead people - and yet Comrade Karl is very much alive and walking at City Hall.

9:18 AM  

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