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Waterfront dilemmas

Bartley Kives hits that nail on the head with his analysis of the proposed development on the existing and antiquated pumphouse building (City has a penchant for bending the rules, Jan. 8).

For urbanists, a difficult dilemma arises. On one hand, the nature of the neighbourhood will be fundamentally shifting with this new high-rise development. Certainly, those with more scenic views of the surrounding landscapes will be affected.

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In moving forward on this proposal, however, the city is showing a rare progressive strain. A heritage site is being saved, while the much clamoured-for ideas and notions around density can now be achieved.

This new development will bring people downtown and to the Exchange district to live, work and play. These forms of carefully considered developments, and the rejection of antiquated "not in my backyard" thinking, are necessary to continue to moving the city forward.




The latest controversy related to the development of a 24-storey apartment tower on Waterfront Drive is another example of civic leaders being reactive rather than proactive.

Were the councillors proactive, they would have a long-term development plan in place making it clear what the area would look like over the next 25 years.

Having such a plan would provide entrepreneurs with clear criteria on which to base project design. Knowing what the area will look like would also minimize surprises like the current one to area residents.

Unfortunately, our elected officials have chosen a course of inaction, waiting to react to developers' proposals. As a result, development is ad hoc and incoherent. Such an approach is likely to benefit developers, but is not in the best interests of the citizens of Winnipeg.




Taxes don't reflect services

It is obvious property assessments in Winnipeg have ballooned beyond all reason (Homes in inner city moving on up, Jan. 9). These inflated assessments then spawn high property-tax revenues.

A friend's house in Vancouver is assessed at almost $1 million. His property taxes, for a larger and more luxurious home, are $4,645, $500 less than mine.

Compare Vancouver's transit system, roadways, bridges, amenities, services, etc. with Winnipeg's.

What's wrong with this picture?




Sustaining tradition

I was glad to see the Wayne Glowacki photo (Christmas feast, Jan. 8) that appeared on the front of the city and business section.

Traditions and customs fade year after year. The meaning of Christmas is now different, particularly in reference to understanding and acceptance. People are becoming more reluctant to express or convey to one another the true meaning and feeling of Christmas.

On the other hand, many Ukrainian families continue to observe the traditional date of Ukrainian Christmas on Jan. 7 despite the pressures of modern society to change.

It was gratifying to see recognized this important festive day for family reunion.




Dangers of smartphones

Re: Do you have a smartphone problem? (Dec. 28).

Not a word was said about the radio-frequency or microwave-radiation problems caused by smartphones, which may be causing a problem of a different sort for the user and those exposed second-hand.

Recent studies report breast cancer in women who carried their cellphone in their bra, adverse effects on sperm exposed to laptops, abnormal mineralization of the hip bone where cellphones were carried, and more.

Dr. A. Miller, a Canadian cancer epidemiologist, says recent brain-cancer studies provide a good case to bump the 2011 World Health Organization classification of wireless radiation from a "possible" to a "probable" carcinogen. It might be an idea to do a bit of research on those wonderful gadgets before spending 24/7 with them turned on.

If you can't bear to turn off your device, at least keep it in your purse or bag and away from your important body parts.




City should learn zones

Winnipeg's Know Your Zone snow-clearing program is a joke. My street was half-cleaned because they cleared a day early and could not properly clear where the parked cars were.

When my street was supposed to be cleaned and the majority of the residents kept their cars off the street (as they are supposed to), no crews showed up to complete the job properly.

I have yet to see anyone get ticketed or towed for not moving their vehicles, as they say is the punishment for not co-operating.




My snow zone was slated for clearing starting at 7 a.m. Monday. I receive emails from the city, so I knew my son had to move his car.

He went out before 7 a.m. to move the car, which wouldn't start despite being plugged in. I left a note on the car explaining that I was waiting for help, but he was given a $75 ticket.

My street was cleaned at 5 a.m. Tuesday, nearly 10 hours after the 12-hour window had expired. It amazes me how fast cars are ticketed, yet the street wasn't even cleaned in the 12-hour window it was supposed to be done.

This is a cash-grab, plain and simple. Can the city not co-ordinate with the plows so that the individual issuing the tickets makes his or her rounds shortly before the plows?


Winnipeg, MB


Pay tribute to Sinclair

I am disgusted with the turn of events in the Brian Sinclair inquest (They wouldn't listen to me about Sinclair: witness, Jan. 7), including the many delays brought on by several participants.

I do, however, have one suggestion -- that the waiting room at Health Sciences Centre be dedicated to the memory of Sinclair.

I realize a dedication is often associated with a financial contribution. Sinclair, however, gave his life, which is worth more than any monetary contribution.

This unforgivable matter will improve future waiting-room procedures for Manitobans. Sinclair's death and the resulting inquiry and course of action could save a life someday.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2014 A8

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