Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Candidates focus attention on blueprint for city's growth

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Judy Wasylycia-Leis says she would appoint a community task force.

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Mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis says she'll appoint a task force to ensure planning decisions conform to the city's official planning guide.

Wasylycia-Leis said she would appoint a team of community experts within 100 days of winning the election.

The team would review the city's policies and planning decisions to ensure they conform with OurWinnipeg -- the official blueprint for the city's growth.

"OurWinnipeg is a good plan that has gathered dust because the interests of a few well-connected developers have been put ahead of the public interest," Wasylycia-Leis said.

"I am committed to ensuring we are guided by responsible, smart, innovative and forward-thinking urban planning and that all citizens will have a voice in that plan."

Wasylycia-Leis was one of three mayoral candidates (the other two were Coun. Paula Havixbeck and Robert-Falcon Ouellette) who attended a news conference Monday that also called for a review of OurWinnipeg.

Transition Winnipeg, a coalition of neighbourhood groups, said city hall needs to adjust OurWinnipeg to reflect the impacts brought on the city from climate change.

Mark Burch, the group's former chairman, said achieving a prosperous and healthy community is everyone's goal, but the objective is finding the proper way to get there.

Transition Winnipeg released a report that states the end of cheap oil and climatic conditions should prompt city hall to reconsider allowing the construction of an unlimited number of single-family homes on vacant land on the city's periphery.

The group is advocating high-density, multi-family housing with new communities linked to each other and the city core with rapid transit.

The report, Winnipeg's Great Transition: Ideas and Actions for a Climate-Resilient, Low-Carbon City, is available at onegreencity.org.

The three candidates later met with Transition Winnipeg organizers.

"We all agreed that OurWinnipeg has to be implemented," Wasylycia-Leis said.

"We need to take planning away from developers and put it in the hands of people."

The group also advocates examining alternative development strategies, including adoption of solar, geothermal and biomass technology for housing and commercial spaces, dedicated bike/pedestrian paths linking neighbourhoods and more mixed-use zoning so people can live closer to where they work.

Burch said all mayoral candidates were invited to Monday's event, adding he expects the group's report will be presented to city hall.

Organizers said they hoped the candidates would include planning as part of their platform.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2014 B3

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