A half-cooked, pie-in-the-sky masterplan for Point Douglas
. Is it that time of year already?
A couple of months ago, Sel Burrows, Wanda Koop, Jordan van Sewall, and one or two others sat down over brunch with Premier Gary Doer to talk about Point Douglas. The talk got on the subject of one industrial land owner or another, and how that land, if in the wrong hands (say, the hands of those that are in the business of making money rather than distributing or recieving it) could become mixed-use condos or some other urban affliction. The Premier stops it right there; looks at them and says "Well, what if we [the Provincial government] expropriate the owners and make it into a Provincial Park?"
What would this look like? No one knows. When I asked one of the brunch attendees where exactly this park would be located, they could not say for certain, only that it would likely stretch along the entire bank of the peninsula neighborhood, from the north end of Waterfront Drive, all the way around to the vicinity of Norquay Park.
...but isn't it a good thing Gary Doer didn't forget to consult the community
about what they think of his idea? [h/t to PHiebert]
How this works with regards to private property rights, the CPR mainline, the impending Disraeli and Louise Bridge projects, the City's secondary plan for south Point Douglas, and the citizens of Point Douglas that don't brunch with the Premier; again, no one knows.
No one knows how this will revitalize the neighborhood, since no one understands urban neighborhoods, or applies that knowledge to Winnipeg. This plans looks to simply be urban renewal in its most vile, misanthropic form, and will do nothing to make Point Douglas the wonderful place it could be. But I suppose when you don't understand or like cities, it makes sense to just expropriate them and cover them with grass. Native grass, of course--it's not the '50s anymore.
Premier Doer liked his idea of a Provincial Park, he told the crowd at the table, because it has precedence: the Manitoba Club/Friends of Upper Fort Garry, who were able to bring a Provincial Park to the corner of Fort and the soon-to-be-lost Assiniboine Avenue. This will be even easier for the prominent Social Democrat faithful of Point Douglas: no fund-raising campaigns needed, just set up a lunch date at the Premier's office, attempt to scare the locals with mentioning the phantom gated community idea from a few years ago, and just sit back and let the park come to your doorstep.
This pointless idea is rooted in arrogance from top to bottom. The Provincial NDP, obviously, exudes arrogance (and with good reason; who is critical of them anymore?). The tiny cabal of artists in South Point Douglas who want the whole neighborhood to themselves, are either too arrogant or too deluded to see that they make no sense: they want shops they can walk to, but they don't want cars or density; they want improvement, but they don't want their property taxes to rise (no joke); they want diversity and affordable housing, but want the Province to first concentrate on bike paths; they want the bear patrol, but they won't pay taxes for it.
Can we just have a little honesty down in Art Land? Can it just be said out loud:
We artists want the neighborhood to ourselves. We want our houses and studios and nothing more. We don't want other people to live here, we don't want other people to drive here. And we want this all without an increase to our property tax bills.
Anyway, giving this story to the Free Press
this week worked as a nice diversion stunt for a Premier that lords over the men and and women who once lived the life of kings
, but are now content with feeble servility. Please wake me up in a couple of weeks, when this plan is forgotten and people like King Gary the Superlative leave Point Douglas alone, for another year at least.