Sunday, 2 June 2013

Fiscal axeman votes for Costly Sprawl

Axemen: Not the best people to run a city.
Russ Wyatt, as you may recall, is a fiscal axeman when it comes to the inner-city and hard working poor Winnipeggers. He just dreams of swinging that financial axe, brutally chopping off key supports and even infrastructure like the Arlington Bridge.

So when it comes to funding a new, costly outer-ring suburb in southwest Winnipeg, Wyatt would have "no choice" but to vote no, right?

Not quite.
It seems that the fiscal axeman was more than willing to finance new roads for a low-density suburb when he voted in favour of the Rigdewood South Precinct Plan.

Wyatt wanted to close the Arlington Bridge.

Afterwards, he voted for a Ridgewood South Precinct plan
that entails extending roads, trails, & sewers to Ridgewood
South - a costly process.

Image Sources: CBC (Top)
Winnipeg Free Press (Bottom)

Of the 15 councillors plus the mayor, only Harvey Smith, Ross Eadie, and Jenny Gerbasi had the good sense to say no to stretching our already overstretched infrastructure budget.

As for Wyatt, it seems that there are two kinds of people when it comes to his "no choice" world: the hard working poor Winnipeggers, clamouring to eek out a living and who rely on Community Centres and the Arlington Bride, versus relatively affluent Winnipeggers who want bigger houses. Russ Wyatt would like to cut away what the former needs but votes to give the later what they want. This policy combo is tantamount to class warfare and the deputy mayor should be ashamed.

What we should be axing is the Precinct Plan for Ridgewood South, as it'll cost us big:

For decades, this large chunk of Charleswood -- roughly a quarter the size of Waverley West -- has resisted development due to the logistical complexity of extending roads, sewers and water mains into a patchwork of land with at least 30 property owners.

A precinct plan published Friday calls for the land to be developed in 11 phases, starting in the west, where four large chunks can be serviced relatively easily by extending the city's sewer system.

But other pieces pose massive drainage challenges, not to mention community concerns about transportation headaches and preserving natural areas. The biggest question mark involves who will pay for new regional roads, such as the southern extension of the William R. Clement Parkway, which currently dead-ends at Grant Avenue.

The land-use plan for Ridgewood South calls for mostly low-density development -- that is, single-family homes -- between Fairmont Road and the Perimeter Highway, with a few nodes of multi-family housing and mixed residential and commercial development around intersections of future roads.

East of Fairmont Road, the Varsity View Sportsplex will remain in place at the foot of the proposed William R. Clement Parkway expansion. More mixed-use development would eventually fill in the eastern tip of Ridgewood South triangle. According to the city's Transportation Master Plan, extending the William R. Clement Parkway from Grant Avenue to Wilkes Avenue will cost $60 million, in 2011 dollars.

"I don't see who's paying for that, though," quipped Havixbeck. "I don't see it on any budget in the coming years."

("Ridgewood South takes first steps". Kives, Bartley (May 4, 2013). Winnipeg Free Press)
"Fiscally responsible" Paula Havixbeck
voted for the financially iffy
Ridgewood South Precinct Plan.

Image Source: City of Winnipeg

Given the big price tag with some uncertainty about who's paying, "fiscally responsible" councillor Paula Havixbeck should have voted against the Precinct Plan for Ridgewood Plan. Unfortunately, she didn't.

To reiterate, of all the councillors, only Harvey Smith, Jenny Gerbasi, and Ross Eadie had the good sense to vote no to this costly, budget thinning Precinct Plan.

Winnipeggers would be wise to remember this when they go to the polls in 2014. Just think of what the fiscal axeman wanted to do to the inner-city while voting for new 'burbs. Just think of Katz's judgement in declaring said axeman his number two man. Also think of the wisdom of Katz - who cries poor to the Province yet votes in favour of stretching our budget to include new 'burbs.

Meanwhile, for those interested in sharing or receiving info on the development and talking about the issue, I've created a new page on Facebook: Stop Ridgewood South. Hopefully, concerned Winnipeggers can have some effect on this ridiculous suburban development that will thin out our city budgets and contribute to the dilapidation of our central city roads.

1 comment:

  1. And the real big elephant in the room are the lands on the other side of wilkes. You want a community, start there and stop the idiocy of 2.5 and 5 acre lots.

    The development is starting where it is because Qualico owns most of that land.

    And no one has costed out the twinning of Wilkes ( required since its high speed and used heavily by the headingley carpet baggers )since traffic will head that way ( and not down a side street called Dale )