Monday, January 19, 2009

On the Waterfront, pt. 2

Senator Rod Zimmer's plan for the Alexander Avenue docks is now dead, after construction failed to begin by December 31st.

In July, when City council approved Sen. Zimmer's proposal (for a commercial use for the James Avenue pumping station, a conference centre, and renovation of the docks), it was amusing to see just how much lip service was put into context and "fitting in" with the surroundings.

Russ Wyatt, councillor for Transcona and chair of the Downtown (Winnipeg) development committee, was quoted in the Free Press then: "Some of the key things that we wanted to see was a facility which was not too obtrusive to the existing area, that would fit in an existing area, which has residential now and will have more residential in the future — but at the same time, bring life and activity to the waterfront street."

That's nice, but does anyone remember what other development plan for Waterfront Drive--some four blocks from the Alexander docks--was being welcomed with open arms at City Hall in July? Some kind of 40,000-seat football stadium?

A good example of why the City should never embarrass themselves by pretending to know or care one iota about urban context.

Red River looking south-west from Point Douglas, Nov. 2005

In any case, however much will to build there actually was (or was not), there was something remarkable and refreshing about Sen. Zimmer's plan: he was going to pay for it himself with private capital. No panhandling to school children for the future of Fort Douglas (or making fun of a rap song and video about the forts of Manitoba these same children made) was needed; he was going to do it himself.

Which is of course more than can be said of Sen. Zimmer's fellow Winnipeg patricians whenever they get an idea.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never thought bullshit was remarkable or refreshing.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous kid zubaz said...

Zimmer was talking about this project for an entire decade. It would've been great, but he never came close to making it happen.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oldest story in the book in Winnipeg. If taxpayers don't shell out most of the money, it doesn't get built -- MTS Centre, Manitoba Hydro (Crown corp. funded by ratepayers), floodway. The list goes on. What happened to the football stadium? No tax money yet, that's why it's dormant. Oh, and I forgot about the Kenaston underpass, which took longer than the pyramids to build.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and I forgot about the Kenaston underpass, which took longer than the pyramids to build.


Perhaps Waverly's underpass will take less time. Or would it be quicker just to get the trains out of town.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Riverman said...

I saw this as silly right from the beginning. Every time someone talks about riverside development, the idea of a marina always pops up. No mention of asking the two current boating clubs about how difficult it is to run a marina on our rivers.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I applaud Zimmer for his vision, I don't think there was anything close to a business plan ready for this development. Blind money from the Middle East? Europe? Really?

And how intrusive would a football stadium really be if it hosts 10-15 events per year? Would it be the panacea of redevelopment? Nope. Not that either.

We need Blush down there. They brought Vanilla Ice in for NYE. Now that's quality rap!!

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37, ya, blush and a couple of dozen like minded ventures is whats needed.

Take a look at Prince Arthur St. in Montreal.

Now, come on, is that really so difficult to do. Copy another City's success story.

11:39 AM  

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