The Pumphouse -Residents want a Plan?

This is what the current view from The Sky Waterfront 5th floor terrace looks like.

This is what the current view from The Sky Waterfront 5th floor terrace looks like.

The deadline is fast approaching to have your say on a proposed change that can impact our Historic Downtown forever. December 16th is the last day to submit your appeal To reject the height variance for 109 James Avenue, thereby restricting the height of any new construction on this site to 8 storeys and under. Please see the end of the blog to send your message to the municipal government that you value our Historic Exchange District. We want our city to have a plan for future development of the area and the city honour the guidelines and promises made for development in this area. Rejecting the proposal can be a new beginning for Winnipeg.  We need our city to do things differently. We need a plan for our future.

At the City Council meeting held on December 13th we once again saw how dysfunctional our Municipal Government is. Over the last few months there has been many high-profile missteps when it comes to taking caring of the best interests of the people of Winnipeg not only today but as we move forward. Somehow in our democratic system it has become wrong to ask questions like:

  • How do you approve a project that’s design is only 30% complete?
  • Who were the project managers of the building of Police Headquarters?
  • What are the current approval processes and consultation processes to get projects approved? Is there a connection to vision for city?
  • What effect has the substantial cost overruns had on the need to increase taxes?
  • Why are city initiatives and projects not more transparent?
  • What about the residents, business and developers who have invested in creating a strong, vibrant and cultural centre of Winnipeg?
  • Why does the city change the rules for certain developers?

Our mayor’s response to questions is to simply avoid them or we need an ‘Ethics Commissioner’ or accuse counsellors who ask questions of grandstanding.

Wyatt also accused Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) of improperly attacking senior administrators, in particular acting CAO Deepak Joshi, who criticized her for suggesting senior administrators were guilty of mismanagement or possibly corruption.

(Winnipeg Free Press, December 13)

What is a democracy if we are not allowed to question elected officials or even talk to elected officials? In our democracy we need to be asking questions and given the evidence gathered so far we need to have all our city councillors held responsible for of cost overruns, no city plan, urban sprawl to name but a few. Very simply we need to know “What is going on at City Hall? How can the people of Winnipeg trust what is happening and what decisions will be made? How can future investors or developers feel they have a fair chance at development opportunities given the results of the audit on the fire hall fiasco? How can a developer or residents of a development (Waterfront and Exchange District) trust the rules won’t change after they have moved into an area. Have faith in what the city promises them.

Our city deserves better. The people of Winnipeg need a voice and need to matter. There is absolutely no research to support the current methods our city is using to operate and manage Winnipeg. There is however mountains of research to support a different way to run our municipal government. A planned way to manage Winnipeg. It takes the average person but a few minutes to find thousands of articles on ‘Why Cities need Urban Plans? Or Why Sustainable Growth is important? Yet our Mayor and Council refuse to adopt a vision and plan for Winnipeg. They refuse to be accountable for their actions or take current and long-term interests of not only the people who currently live in Winnipeg but future developers and community members as well.

John Orlikow: “If we move forward as blindly as we seem presently, I’m worried about the future… It’s not the fact we have a nice police station or not; the fact is we had a budget and we blew it. We should, instead of putting our heads in the sand, be really trying to find out what went wrong and how do we prevent this from happening in the future.”

John Orlikow is right. How do we keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect the result to be different? How can we approve another project in the city when clearly the way the city is currently doing business is not working? Please be part of the solution and say no to the proposed variance to put a 24 storey building in our historic and cultural district of Winnipeg. Let’s get a plan in place that includes community, developers, representatives of provincial and municipal governments and work together for a better Winnipeg.


The Pumphouse

The Pumphouse

A fresh new vision for Waterfront Drive

Thursday, 12 December 2013

SIGN THEIR ONLINE PETITION – to save Winnipeg’s Waterfront

Please sign and make sure to share with your family, friends, and neighbours.

To reject the height variance for 109 James Avenue, thereby restricting the height of any new construction on this site to 8 storeys and under.

Developers (who remain unidentified) have applied to the City of Winnipeg to construct a 24-storey skyscraper at 109 James Avenue on top of the historical pumphouse station.

A 24-storey skyscraper would set a precedent that is in opposition to the City of Winnipeg’s proposed direction for the warehouse district and waterfront area. The skyscraper being presented is three-times higher than any adjacent buildings and does not have consideration for the surrounding natural and cultural landscape.

Beyond setting the wrong precedent, the height of this proposed development also comes with 2 other negative effects: (1) blocking potential views to the river, forks, and downtown from other homes and businesses, and (2) shadow casting on neighbouring properties, namely the Sky Condominiums.

We believe the existing urban fabric of the Historic Exchange District and its waterfront is no place for skyscrapers. There are other places in the city where this is appropriate. This historic neighbourhood calls for more creative initiatives. Please sign our petition to preserve the integrity of the Waterfront neighbourhood by keeping all new construction on this site to 8 storeys and under.

In signing you will help us:

– Preserve the historical integrity of the Pumphouse and of the Waterfront neighbourhood so that it remains intact for future generations.

– Ensure that future development on this site be in scale to human life and remains in context with surrounding architecture and natural landscape

– Ensure that future development on this site is part of a plan, developed together with the community and the city (not developer-driven).

Please sign our online petition and join the campaign to save Winnipeg’s waterfront.
Click on this link ( ) to sign, and please share!

Many thanks,

The Residents of Waterfront

About jameswhoddinott

My novel 'When Eagles Dare to Fly' represents my belief that good will always triumph over evil and by developing who we are on the inside we will find our way. My newest novel 'The Fates' was released earlier this year that examines a society that discovers immortality. I have a blog called an 'Author, blogger and his musings' which talks about my writing, political issues as well as other areas of interest like education, art and photography,
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1 Response to The Pumphouse -Residents want a Plan?

  1. Pingback: The Pumphouse | James Hoddinott

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