Sunday, October 10, 2010

123 Princess Street

On Friday I wrote of the hazard of giving more power to public development agencies. Not only ineffective and inefficient, they can be counter-productive. I used Centre Venture as a case in point: "Finding it easier than lending to small, risky private initiatives, Centre Venture instead busies itself taking credit for big-ticket projects that would have gone through with our without them. Centre Venture has even have made attempts to muscle out property owners who are actually renewing neighborhoods."

This was not the first time I've been critical of that organization for that reason. Nearly two years ago, I remember being contacted by two different people who both told me the same thing: I was more right than I knew. They were right.

Centre Venture responded to their organizations' own financial mismanagement by coming down hard on the loans made to small developments in risky parts of downtown. The real agents of change downtown, with their own money on the line, borrowers were abruptly cut down so that Centre Venture could stay solvent enough in 2008 and '09, to change directions and become an organization that plays middleman in the development of ugly publicly-driven megaprojects.

Now, one of these small players, Pat Hitchcock, who owns of a warehouse at 123 Princess Street is taking his ordeal with Centre Venture and the City of Winnipeg public with a website, Save 123 Princess Street.

Someone also took the story more visibly public, postering across Centre Venture's storefront office on Main Street (currently undergoing renovations).

Photos found at the forum

More details to follow, I am sure.


Blogger Warren du Plooy said...

Hey Rob. You're a hard man to contact. I want to send you a Cabin Lake e-vite. Gareth has my email address and the details for Saturday.

9:49 PM  

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