Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bribing people to live downtown

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A plan to offer purchasers of new condos in the Exchange District $10,000 cheques? You can bet our readers were quick to get their two cents' worth in on that one.

Let me get this straight. The Winnipeg condo market is hot enough that Exchange condos sell for far more than the average person's house. Yet taxpayers are to fund the purchase of these condos by affluent people with more money than the average citizen will ever see in their lifetime?

Seriously? This has to be a joke!! What's next, will we subsidize the purchase of homes on Wellington Crescent? New condos are going up in the Exchange all the time. Clearly, they do not need taxpayer subsidization. Something stinks here.

-- 23652962

Let the sellers reduce the price to meet the market. Why should taxpayers fork out $10K to buy someone a place to live? Get real. I would rather see my housing dollar spent on providing good-quality housing for low-income families.

-- volunteer1

Sounds more like a bribe. How about giving that money to Loblaw in the form of tax breaks to incentivize the building of a grocery store so residents don't have to get in their car and drive 10 minutes for milk?

-- Ceedger

There is a public benefit from having a thriving Exchange neighbourhood. I think this is pretty good policy so long as it is really term-limited. Will pay for itself, I would think, from increased property assessments.

-- luvstb

First, no incentive would get me to live downtown. Second, I don't think we should be using tax dollars to fund down payments on a condo. They should just decrease the cost of the condo in the first place. Third, if we have this extra money floating around, maybe we should fund more deserving programs instead.

-- 23615082

We don't have the money to fix our roads, but yet we have money to give to people so they can have a nice view of the river? Only our brain-dead city council would approve this plan.

-- LuckyBucky

Almost $3.5 mil over the next four years in rebates and financing charges for high-end-priced condos but only $250K for retail incentives (i.e., grocery stores)?! How about they spend the $3.5 mil on the crumbled, broken, pothole-riddled streets and tax the crap out of grocery chains that build big-box stores in the burbs while closing downtown locations. More money spent unwisely and directed at those who don't necessarily need the incentives/tax breaks while the rest of the middle class keeps funding their highfalutin lifestyle. How does anyone at city hall seriously think this is a good idea?!

-- 23639867

The real problem with the Exchange is the lack of parking facilities for many of these conversions. You can't expect people to choose to live car-less unless they live within walking distance of amenities like grocery stores, pharmacies and coffee shops.

I don't drive, and I looked at the Exchange when I was condo-shopping a few years back; I chose South Osborne instead, primarily because it's so walkable. Other issues were safety and noise, especially in the summer.

-- charlene1

I am incensed that they are going to use my tax dollars to subsidize people who can well afford to buy their own @#$% condos. No money to fix the streets but enough to give to the rich. Reverse Robin Hoods.

-- mojo471

If you are going to build it, then you better be able to sell it. Municipal or any government have no business subsidizing private housing.

All costs and sales should rest on the developer. All the city needs to do is hook up water and sewer. The rest is their problem. Do they not know how to sell for what it is worth?

I am not sure who is more irresponsible in this mess.

-- CNu2

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 21, 2013 A10

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