Residents of the Exchange will need to save their loonies and toonies!!
It would have been easy to get angry at the Winnipeg Parking Authority (WPA) upon receiving a letter stating formally that the current Residential Parking Pass will no longer be valid after August 31st. The letter in itself was filled with many components that if one was aware of the history of the Residential Parking Pass Program one would become upset at the claims being made that it was a necessity in order to meet with the current traffic bylaw that the Parking Authority changed a year ago with minimal consultation of stakeholders and City Council for that matter. It would be easy to be angry at the Parking Authority’s current CEO Randy Topolinski for changing a program that was promised and part of a commitment to the Residents of the area by the former CEO of the WPA. It would be easy to be frustrated when the letter speaks of a consultation process over the last year and they have proposed a Pilot Project allowing Residents to park on four streets in the Exchange for a meager one hundred dollars a month with no guarantee a spot would be available to you. It would be far too easy to blame the Winnipeg Parking Authority.
In reality the WPA is working to fulfill their mandate. Their mandate is to make sure that surface lots and parking at the meters are used to a higher capacity which will increase revenue for the WPA which then ends up into the hands of the City in the form of dividends. So if one is to look at the mandate of the WPA then the CEO in fact is doing his job. His job is not to worry about parking issues for residents or businesses for that matter. His job is to make sure more people use metered parking and the surface lots that are available. His mandate has nothing to do with the Residents of the Exchange and in that respect he has shown these residents of the fine city of Winnipeg they are second class. So if this is not the issue of the WPA then where is the problem?
The problem is a lack of leadership by our Mayor and City Council. It is up to the Mayor and City Council to help to determine the mandate of the parking authority as well as make sure that when we look at Urban Development there is a sustainable plan for the development of a mixed use area that will include business, restaurants, cultural venues and of course residents. Centre Venture has the mandate to look at Urban Development and has put forward proposals which at varies times history has shown us is implemented to a varying degree or ignored completely by the Mayor and City Council.
As a matter of record at one time where the new hotel is being built it was part of a green space that was to be saved to help with the ongoing beauty of Juba Park. Previous developers had been denied building on that site but yet now a hotel is being built on that site. I am not saying the building of the hotel is good or bad but it is one of the many examples of what the real problem is and what is hindering planned growth in downtown Winnipeg.
You have to love the architecture and what the Human Rights Museum adds to the Winnipeg Skyline. Can you imagine across from this beautiful architectural masterpiece a water park? Remember that is what our Mayor and City Council proposed. Why such absurd thoughts and ideas would be happening in our City Council chambers? It is simply because there is not a plan they are aware of or a vision of what is needed to make sustained and positive growth in downtown Winnipeg a reality. The reality of Mayor and City Councillors is development looks like: a business or corporation comes up with a proposal for use in a particular area and the City decides on to approve or not approve the proposal.
One must congratulate Mayor Katz on bringing the Goldeyes to Winnipeg and for the building of Shaw Park. It is certainly a positive for Winnipeg and is a beautiful facility as well as great place for families. However it must be remembered the Goldeyes are his business. One is starting to wonder if Winnipeg is still a priority for our Mayor. As a businessman he would know the importance of a long-term planning. As a businessman he would know that to work with all the stakeholders of your business is essential if you are to be successful. All those things are also true to make the City of Winnipeg successful.
The Mayor and City Council should have blueprints, a work plan as well as a ten-year vision of development not only in downtown Winnipeg but for the entire City of Winnipeg. The parking and problems associated with getting to Bomber Games was predictable. The infrastructure was not in place prior to the building of the Stadium. There are too few access points for traffic to get to the game. Again a great facility, a needed facility but where does it fit into the plans of our city. Has one heard from the Mayor or City Council in regards to the decisions they make or do not—– make for the long-term health of our city?
Great things will continue to happen in the City of Winnipeg because there are many people committed to the development of Winnipeg. Our citizens continue to support the Bombers despite a team performing poorly and the ongoing issues related to getting to the game. What other city would do that? The people and the City of Winnipeg deserve a City Council that is dedicated to planned and systematic growth of not only downtown Winnipeg but all of Winnipeg.
One would have to wonder how other Winnipeggers would react if all of a sudden they were told that they needed to pay 100 dollars a month to park on the street with no guarantee there will be a spot available for them on top of the City taxes they already pay. They would be very angry indeed. I began this blog by stating it would be easy to be angry at the Winnipeg Parking Authority but it was the responsibility of the Mayor and City Council to protect the interests of the Residents of the Exchange not the responsibility of the Parking Authority. It is also the responsibility and mandate of our Mayor and City Council to have a vision for development in our city. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to ask Mayor Katz, ‘In your plan for downtown development where do you see the much-needed Grocery store being built?’ Please let’s hope he doesn’t answer across from the Human Rights Museum.
Four Years ago the Residents of the Exchange were told they would have access to parking in their neighbourhood. Times have changed for them. Who’s next?