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Letters, Dec. 30

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Appeal process flawed

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Opinion

Appeal process flawed

Re: Board impairs civic decision making (Nov. 28) and City, developers pay price for expanded Municipal Board: Rollins (Dec. 26)

The appeal process of the Municipal Board serves no purpose other than to impose the will of a minority on the majority. It does not serve the greater good.

The latest appeal ruling on the proposed apartment building on Roblin Boulevard, by a three-person subset of the unelected board, demonstrates this.

The proposal was appealed by a few people (thinking: not-in-my-backyard) to a subset of the board (with unknown expertise). The appeal was successful, rejecting the proposal because it was “incompatible with the character, context, and built form of the surrounding dwellings and established neighbourhood.”

This appeal process itself imposed increased immediate administrative costs to the city (with possibility of repetition in the future). The decision itself rejected an opportunity to densify housing in the city, thus promoting urban sprawl and the accompanying costs to the city of building and maintaining infrastructure (long term).

We know of the effect that sprawl has on the environment: increased emissions from increased vehicle use, and from building and maintaining that infrastructure.

There is no need for this board to hear appeals. The process in place is very thorough and considers all aspects of a development, including the greater good.

Ted Stoesz

Winnipeg

Ideas misguided

Re: It will take more than office workers’ return to get downtown back on its feet (Dec. 27)

In what universe is it “good news” that an organization has deserted a heritage building with frontage on struggling Portage Avenue for a nearby office building? Yet, that is exactly what the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce has done, all the while spouting ideas about how to restore the downtown, presumably including the stretch of Portage Avenue it just left.

Sadly, this paradox is in good company with other misguided ideas proposed in this article. Although certainly needed in Winnipeg, affordable housing and community centres make a neighbourhood, not a downtown. Downtown needs people with the resources to invest in property, including condos, and to spend money in shops.

Saying downtown was on an upswing before the pandemic does not make it so. The Bay closed and the hollowing out of downtown continued unchecked, certainly not helped by a central block that sits empty 90 per cent of the time, courtesy of taxpayer support.

The article says little about how such subsidies return money to taxpayers rather than to developers or wealthy owners. One development that shows just such a return is the conversion of former warehouses in the Exchange District, where I have lived for more than 30 years. Residents have continuously invested in condos and now pay substantial taxes to city coffers.

Perhaps a necessary first step is for parties involved to adopt realistic rather than fanciful ideas for restoring downtown Winnipeg, if it is not already too late.

Jim Clark

Winnipeg

Province’s aging population marginalized

Re: Blaming Ottawa won’t fix Manitoba’s health care (Dec. 21)

This editorial hits the nail on the head: “(the) Progressive Conservative government has deliberately underfunded health care since it came into power in 2016.”

Since then, one of the main factors fuelling the cascade of events decreasing access to emergency as well as acute medical and surgical hospital care has been inadequate funding to meet the needs of our aging population. In order to address the backlash caused by elderly patients occupying acute care beds, long-term, innovative and financial strategies are necessary. Moving this high-risk group out of hospital and into home care or chronic care homes has to be a priority.

Our provincial government’s myopic view toward health-care funding leads to crisis management and reactive rather than long-term, preventive goals.

A perfect example of a missed opportunity was the closure of the Mature Women’s Centre and the Hysterectomy Alternative Program in 2017. This nurse-managed interdisciplinary program was not only cost-effective, but ultimately saved money with long-term benefits.

Women now live up to half of their life expectancy in the nonreproductive, post-menopausal period. This program enabled and empowered them to receive health-care services that maintained their health, prevented disease and improved their physical, psychological, social and sexual quality of life.

This holistic approach contributed to decreasing the risk of developing early metabolic and cardiovascular disease, as well as preventing cancer, osteoporotic fracture and other debilitating conditions. This proactive approach would lead to a decrease in the need for hospital services.

Unfortunately, since the program’s demise, these services are currently fragmented and limited. There is a huge clinical and service gap.

I believe that in order to achieve these reachable outcomes for our aging population, the health-care delivery model has to be patient-focused and managed by an interdisciplinary medical, nursing and health-care provider team. The best way to provide this service is in a primary care-focused system.

Richard Boroditsky, MD

Gimli

Gordie all the way

Re: Ovechkin nets 2, passes Gordie Howe for 2nd in career goals (Dec. 24)

What a shame, that you would compare Alex Ovechkin to our Gordie Howe.

To begin with, how many goals did Gordie Howe shoot and count into an empty net?

Howe and Ovechkin played during completely different eras. In a week, Howe may have played one game. On the other hand, Ovechkin could have played three or four games or more — a totally different opportunity.

The equipment today is totally different. Did you know that Howe used Simpsons-Sears and Eaton’s catalogs for shin protection when he started to play hockey? These catalogues no longer exist. Please don’t dare to make a comparison.

I would like know the goal count if they had both played during the same period of time. And even during that period of time, there would have been an age difference.

Not sorry. It’s Gordie Howe all the way!

Sylvia Bohonos

Winnipeg

From tweets to toots

What people are missing in the Twitter debate, in my opinion, is not about Elon Musk. He may be an immense imbecile, but he is not the sole cause of Twitter’s impending demise.

What is most relevant is that the platform itself is defective. It was always doomed, and the events of late were inevitable in the long run. A centralized system such as Twitter that is owned and serviced by a single corporation cannot possibly meet the needs and discretions of an open audience, no more than an autocracy can possibly meet the needs of a free society.

The decentralized platform, such as Mastodon, is clearly the answer. Thousands of servers, each being policed by its own criteria, enables the global community to determine what is right and wrong, liked and disliked, engaged or not engaged. Those sites that represent what most people like will be successful, those that do not will perish, as it should be.

Goodbye, Twitter. You filled a critical gap in our evolution, but now it’s time to go.

Steve Oetting

Winnipeg

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