In early 2005, WinnipegREALTORS® publicly supported amending the zoning in Waverley West to change it from rural to neighbourhood land-use. At the time, there was an extreme shortage of building lots in southwest Winnipeg; coupled with strong population growth thanks to the highly-successful Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, which spawned an increase in new immigrants to the city and province.
People have to live somewhere and infill development at best was a very partial solution to helping house a growing population.
Note: WinnipegREALTORS® can speak proudly about helping rejuvenate inner-city housing through the creation of the Housing Opportunity Partnership (HOP) in 1996. This non-profit housing initiative has been instrumental in helping turnaround neighbourhoods in Winnipeg’s West End that were on the cusp of decline as a result of depressed real estate values and deterioration of existing housing stock. New infill housing has been a mainstay of HOP over the past few years.
Fast forward to 2014 and the Manitoba Building and Construction Trades Council is calling for a 10-year moratorium on new neighbourhood construction as part of its platform for the upcoming city of Winnipeg election on October 22.
Talk about constructive thinking. Absolutely not!
The same comments we made for the need to allow Waverley West to go forward — addressing a housing shortage, keeping housing more affordable, offering people a choice where they want to live without forcing them into a long commute from rural municipalities surrounding Winnipeg — still apply throughout the city.
If you take the logic of what is being suggested to a former time when Winnipeg was experiencing growth as it is now, you may have to shut down the neighbourhoods that arose after the creation of Crescentwood in 1904.
When WinnipegREALTORS® celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2003, it had Professor David Burley do a special study, entitled City and Suburb — Housing in Twentieth-Century Winnipeg. He highlighted Crescentwood as Winnipeg’s first planned suburb.
At the time, servicing this new development was a concern, but similar to any city, anywhere, you need to accommodate growth. Studies have shown that new development does pay its way and is not a drain on civic finances.
There’s no one better to speak on this subject than Mike Moore, the president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association. In a July 19 commentary he wrote for the Winnipeg Free Press, Moore concluded that a new neighbourhood moratorium was a bad idea.
“On the main page of their website, the Building and Trades Council purports to support careers in construction,” he wrote in the Free Press. “However, a moratorium on new home construction would result in thousands of jobs being lost for skilled tradespeople in residential construction.
“In the Our Winnipeg document that was accepted and approved by council, there was a growth projection of 180,000 people in Winnipeg by 2031,” who “require approximately 83,000 new dwellings ...
“Although I can’t speak for all voters, if a candidate stands for putting thousands of people out of work, stagnating the growth and development of Winnipeg and closing the doors on immigrants, I hope that they are standing outside city hall, looking in rather than representing us.”
WinnipegREALTORS® agrees with Mike Moore. Any candidate running for city council this fall, who supports a moratorium on new neighbourhoods, should not be representing us. A moratorium was not a solution when Crescentwood was built, nor is it now.