Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the Day

Satellite dwellers must pay

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Mayor Katz is wrong to place the blame for Winnipeg's infrastructure woes on the shoulders of the provincial government (Provincial budget 'abandons' city on infrastructure: Katz, April 17). While it is telling of the mayor's personal politics that he does not hold the same cantankerous attitude toward the federal government, the problem is not a matter of jurisdictional transfers of tax dollars. Rather, the problem is endemic to the capital region.

For too long Winnipeg as a municipality has stood by as thriving satellite communities have popped up all around its borders. The main reason these communities even exist is a combination of lower property tax rates, as the municipalities do not have to pay for incredibly expensive infrastructure projects such as aqueducts, sewer works, etc., and other factors such as the perceived lack of a safe environment within the city limits.

Had Katz continued the pro-downtown development outlook of his predecessor, Glen Murray, rather than catering to his voting base in the suburbs, the problem of public safety may have been dealt with by now.

Winnipeg needs to recuperate tax dollars from those who continue to leech off the capital region. The lack of responsibility on the part of these individuals can be forgiven; it is human nature to take as much as one can, while giving as little as possible back. Thus the solution to this problem must not be framed in terms of punishing these individuals. Rather, it must be framed in terms of how a healthy, vibrant capital region will continue to benefit them.

I hope to one day return to the city of my birth after I complete my education and give back to the place that gave so much to me. I see this not as a burden, to pay for Winnipeg's upkeep, but as a privilege. Winnipeg is one of the best-kept secrets in the world and a fine city in which to live.

GAVIN WIENS

Baltimore

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 20, 2013 A16

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