Mayoral candidate Klein vows to cut red tape for business

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Kevin Klein is promising to speed up the steps businesses must take to open in Winnipeg, if he’s elected the city’s next mayor.

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Kevin Klein is promising to speed up the steps businesses must take to open in Winnipeg, if he’s elected the city’s next mayor.

The city’s permitting process is too difficult, time-consuming and expensive for many entrepreneurs, Klein said Wednesday, just before announcing a host of proposed changes he believes would make the process quicker and easier.

“We’re seeing businesses shut down… and we’re seeing businesses go to other cities and businesses not open here because it’s too difficult,” he said, during a news conference at a Canadian Footwear store in the Exchange District.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Mayoral candidate Kevin Klein also promises to ensure demolition permits for derelict homes and buildings are provided within 90 days of an application.

Klein vowed to ensure occupancy permits are granted within 90 days and create a 15-day permit process for essential services, such as supportive housing, health-care providers, daycares and restaurants/food services, when those operations are placed in an existing building with similar activities.

If elected, he also promises to ensure demolition permits for derelict homes and buildings are provided within 90 days of an application.

“Vacant buildings and properties are a risk to our community, our neighbourhoods, our first responders… We need to put in a plan that has a 90-day demolition permit process. So the home or the building can be taken down, the land becomes vacant and it becomes more desirable for developers to build on,” said Klein.

The city currently requires plans to be in place for redevelopment before a property can be demolished, something officials have previously said is needed to reduce the risk of land being left empty.

Klein said, as mayor, he would add $2,500 more per year to fees charged to the owners of vacant properties, which he expects would address that risk.

The Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood councillor (elected in 2018) said the City of Winnipeg would also create one point of contact for businesses to apply for permits, rather than multiple ones for different permits, and modernize its website to ensure company owners and developers can access important information quickly.

While the candidate referred to the city’s planning, property and development department as understaffed, he said he can’t yet estimate how many more employees are needed.

“I don’t have a number in mind because I want it to be efficient… We have to see where the system is today.”

Meanwhile, one more incumbent city councillor will face competition in her re-election bid. Pascal Scott has registered to run in Waverley West, where Coun. Janice Lukes was previously uncontested.

Couns. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River), Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) and Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) remain unopposed so far in thier respective districts.

There are 14 candidates registered to run for mayor in the municipal election, which will take place Oct. 26.

joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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