Daniel McIntyre ward report
Cindy Gilroy is the city councillor for Daniel McIntyre.
Recent articles of Cindy Gilroy
I am proud that this year’s City budget will make important investments into our community including a new spray pad and community centre upgrades.
As part of the budget, $10 million from the Canada Community Building Fund was devoted to focus on supporting the physical and mental health of Winnipeggers. This will improve safe outdoor recreation in underserved areas.
In Daniel McIntyre, I am grateful for $1.5 million funding for a new spray pad at the Valour Community Centre. This will cover design and construction of this new recreation facility at the Clifton Site and should be completed next year. The City will upgrade the playground at the same time.
Spray pads provide brightly coloured water toys that make sprays, mist, or streams of water on a non-slip surface. Families can look forward to opportunities to have safe fun outdoors, a chance to cool down on hot summer days, and longer opening hours.
New City of Winnipeg grants will create opportunities for affordable housing units, as well as spur investment in other key development targets such as our downtown.
City council has passed a new tax increment financing policy. Under this policy, grants would refund up to 80 per cent of the municipal portion of property taxes for eligible housing projects. This benefit would also apply to heritage building restoration projects, economic development initiatives and transformative developments.
There is a critical need for affordable housing in Winnipeg. Many vulnerable people are living on our streets and others are struggling to afford their rent. This policy aims to support the construction of 1,500 affordable housing units. It will provide grants of up to $50 million for affordable housing, including $20 million for development downtown. In order to qualify, housing projects will require that at least 30 per cent of all rental units be rented below 80 per cent of the median market rent.
One of the biggest struggles for people in poverty is the lack of choice. Choosing the area where you want to live so you’re close to schools and work is vital to those who have a lower income. The tax-break policy has a citywide scope so residents will not be forced to live in specific areas.
City council recently approved Winnipeg’s first poverty reduction strategy. This comprehensive plan includes a practical approach to reducing poverty, increasing equity, and building a “culture of caring” in all city activities over the next decade.
For too long our city has had one of the highest child poverty rates in Canada and no plan to deal with the issue. The strategy aims to be a catalyst for more action and increasing community partnerships to address the root causes of poverty while recognizing we require collaboration of all levels of government.
The strategy was co-created by representatives of Winnipeg’s public service, Make Poverty History Manitoba, Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, and Ka Ni Kanichihk, along with community stakeholders, including people with lived experience of poverty.
“This was a historic moment for the city to acknowledge its role, and a positive step in addressing and helping end poverty in Winnipeg,” said Michael Barkman, chairperson of Make Poverty History Manitoba.
Everyone deserves the dignity of a safe place to live and access to the services they need. In Winnipeg, we are seeing growing numbers of unsheltered people living on our streets who need support.
As winter approaches, this human rights crisis will take on an even greater sense of urgency. I wanted to share a story with you that helped me better understand the challenges. Our office has received many calls about an encampment at the Agnes-St. Matthews Green Space. The green space has a community garden — a place where people can gather and children play.
An unsheltered person made a small camp and over months spread out over the whole park. At times, other people camped there, too. The space had gathered up 12 city garbage bins, everything from mattresses to child-car seats, a lot of garbage, and many needles. People were concerned for those living there, conditions in the camp, the growing debris, and worries about fire and safety.
We met the main person living in the camp to get to know him, listen, and see how we could help. He is quite independent and resourceful. He is a hoarder but many of the things he has gathered were used to sell to support himself. He has mental health issues and is using drugs to cope. While he would like to live in housing he would need support in place to help him function.
Investing in core city services like road renewals and repairs has always been a high priority for me.
Our City budget for 2021 made a record investment in road construction projects of approximately $152.2 million in improvements to local and regional streets, back lanes, sidewalks, and active transportation routes. The plan is to spend $864.1 million over the next six years on road and back lane renewals.
This is the highest level of annual investment in our city’s history and will represent 140 lane kilometres of road and back lane renewals. Work is taking place on several major routes and regional streets across all areas of Winnipeg.
Capital investment in road construction benefits Winnipeg in three important ways including reducing our infrastructure deficit, creating jobs, and supporting the construction industry and our economy in what has been difficult financial times.
Two of Winnipeg’s major planning documents are moving ahead with important amendments that will help preserve our green space and add more of it as our city grows.
Council passed the OurWinnipeg 2045 plan and Complete Communities 2.0 with changes to prohibit development on major city-owned green spaces such as forest, parks and golf courses. The city will also work towards adding another 1,000 acres of public park space by 2045.
These were important amendments to ensure that we maintain green space so critical to our quality of life. Winnipeggers made it clear how much they value our precious green space at public hearings held by the executive policy committee in May and June.
The amendments also included the city developing a master greenspace plan, a biodiversity policy and a natural corridor protection plan that includes riverbanks. These measures will help us make sure that biodiversity and sustainable development are part of our planning and policies.
Earlier this year, Winnipeg City Council approved selling up to 15 properties for $1 each as another way of creating new, affordable housing.
Selling these properties at a discount is an incentive to build new housing units. This provides us with another much-needed affordable housing option and an opportunity to help revitalize inner-city neighbourhoods. I was happy to bring the plan forward to council as chairperson of the standing policy committee on property and development.
We know that Winnipeg has growing gaps in affordable housing. While the city is not the direct provider of housing in Manitoba, we recognize that all levels of government must play a role to address critical housing needs in our community. The recent Winnipeg Comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment showed that more than one out of five families spend over 30 per cent of their gross income on shelter.
I have been actively participating in The SHIFT (Right to Home), a national municipal working group, that asks participants to change the way we think about and interact with housing. It calls for “greater collaboration, communication, and co-ordination among all levels of government to address our expanding housing crisis as a human rights crisis, especially in the light of the compounding effects of COVID-19.”
Winnipeg is a vibrant and growing city. In the next 20 years it is estimated that our population will grow by 160,000 people and need 82,000 new homes. That presents both challenges and opportunities. The OurWinnipeg plan represents a 25-year vision of how we would like our city to grow. It is intended to be a guide for the policies that shape everything the city does, including the delivery of city services, how we get around, how we address climate change and how we grow in a sustainable fashion, both environmentally and economically. As chair of the standing policy committee on property development, heritage, and downtown development ,one of my key jobs was to participate in the OurWinnipeg review process to produce a new plan to guide us to 2045. The review included public engagement activities, consultations with stakeholders, feedback on draft plans, and advice from a community advisory committee on how we can make Winnipeg a better city. The plan is based on localizing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. These included leadership and good governance, environmental resilience, economic prosperity, good health and well-being, social equity, and city building. Some of the revised emphasis to policy areas include: removing systemic barriers to participation, reducing poverty, addressing climate change impacts, and shifting to more sustainable transportation. The vision of our city is of one that is thriving, sustainable, and resilient, grounded in a strong commitment for human rights; that is welcoming and contributes to an equitable, and high quality of life for all. It also recognizes that we are at the beginnings of what will be a transformative journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. OurWinnipeg has a companion document called the Complete Communities Direction Strategy, a citywide secondary plan by-law that guides growth, land use, and development in the city. One of the key goals is setting a target of 50 per cent for new residential growth to happen in existing areas of the city, such as in our downtown, along transit corridors, and in established residential neighbourhoods such as Daniel McIntyre. This target will allow us to make better use of existing infrastructure and amenities. The OurWinnipeg 2045 plan will be brought to the executive policy committee for a public hearing and then approval from both city council and the Province of Manitoba. See more at winnipeg.ca/OurWinnipeg OurWinnipeg 2045 seeks to make our city resilient - one that thinks globally and acts locally. I look forward to working together with you to achieve these goals.
Winnipeg is a vibrant and growing city.
In the next 20 years it is estimated that our population will grow by 160,000 people and need 82,000 new homes. That presents both challenges and opportunities. The OurWinnipeg plan represents a 25-year vision of how we would like our city to grow. It is intended to be a guide for the policies that shape everything the city does, including the delivery of city services, how we get around, how we address climate change and how we grow in a sustainable fashion, both environmentally and economically.
As chair of the standing policy committee on property development, heritage, and downtown development, one of my key jobs was to participate in the OurWinnipeg review process to produce a new plan to guide us to 2045. The review included public engagement activities, consultations with stakeholders, feedback on draft plans, and advice from a community advisory committee on how we can make Winnipeg a better city.
Earth Day is April 22 and spring has come early, so many of us have been out enjoying the warmer weather.
Many different community organizations, businesses and resident groups are looking at ways to do their part to beautify the community by participating in spring cleanups.
This year our community has welcomed two brand new resident groups - the South Valour Residents Association (www.facebook.com/svrawinnipeg) and the North Valour Residents Association (www.facebook.com/North-Valour-Residents-Association-101440771826150).
These two groups are working on a spring cleanup to take place over two days on April 24 and 25.
During this pandemic, especially with the extreme cold temperatures, there have been devastating numbers of homeless people living on our streets and using bus shelters to stay warm.
People experiencing homelessness face multiple challenges including lack of affordable housing, poverty, mental health, and addictions issues. The pandemic has made life even harder and we are seeing a rise in both mental health problems as well as alcohol and drug abuse.
In the West End, the Spence Neighbourhood Association and the West End Women’s Resource Centre have worked with the City to turn the gym at Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre into a warming centre. I recently visited and volunteered at the centre to hear from people on the front lines. This is one of the city’s 10 warming centres. It is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., providing a warm-up space, hot meals, hygiene supplies, an outdoor warming fire, winter gear, and access to a washroom. The team there does a great job and I’m always looking into what I can do to support them.
The challenge is that not everyone feels safe and welcomed in our shelters. According to End Homelessnesss Winnipeg there is unused capacity in our shelter system. Many people are not allowed into some shelters when they are intoxicated and must stay out in the cold.
I am happy that the City of Winnipeg made a $2 million investment in affordable housing from federal Safe Restart funds as part of the 2021 budget.
This past summer the city’s comprehensive housing needs assessment made it clear there are growing gaps in affordable housing. More than one out of five families spend more than 30 per cent of their gross income on shelter. Our seniors’ population is growing and Indigenous and recent immigrant households are struggling to find suitable housing.
When I was elected in 2014, one of my top priorities was to have the city develop a housing plan that provides a way to address those needs. With the advocacy and support of community groups I have championed this work at City Hall and built support with my fellow councillors. While the city is not the direct provider of housing in Manitoba, we recognize that all governments must play a role.
In this year’s budget, we will implement an affordable housing strategy that will help meet those needs. Since 2000, $1 million has been set aside each year in the housing rehabilitation reserve account to help fund projects. The 2021 budget invests an additional $2 million from the federal Safe Restart agreement to provide capital grants and permit-fee rebates to developers of affordable housing. These measures allow us to leverage federal funding that was available but not being accessed.
Thanks to all of you for everything you have been doing to help each other during this pandemic. This has been a year like no other.
I know that things have been difficult. We are all worried and anxious about the road ahead and watching it unfold can be overwhelming. We are all striving for some sense of normalcy.
For our mental health we need to take time to unplug — to go outside, if possible, and take a walk. We all need to find ways to stay connected and bring comfort to others — phone a friend to talk, reach out to someone and help them laugh and smile.
When I am down, I always look to the resilience and generosity of our community in Daniel McIntyre to be inspired. I am encouraged by seeing acts of selflessness and kindness all around us.
Earlier this year, Winnipeg launched a new low-income transit program that will provide discounted adult monthly transit passes to eligible families.
Beginning this past May, applications were accepted for the WINNpass program and, once approved, applicants were able to load their cards with an adult monthly pass that costs 30 per cent less than a full fare pass. The WINNpass discount will grow to 40 per cent in May 2021 and 50 per cent in May 2022.
I am proud that l City Council voted last year to approve the introduction of a low-income bus pass to help our transit system become more affordable and accessible. I put this motion forward at Council and have been pushing for a low-income bus pass since I was first elected.
Once the motion was passed, Winnipeg Transit worked with organizations that serve families to bring the program together. As the program continues to roll out, future phases will see drop points for applications installed at locations in the community, including Winnipeg Harvest and all Access Centres in our city.
I am excited that the City of Winnipeg will launch a curbside organic-waste pilot project this fail, the first step toward developing a city-wide program.
As a former chair of the water and waste committee, I was happy to see the organic waste pilot program move ahead and that our Daniel McIntyre ward will be one of five neighbourhoods to participate.
The pilot project will collect food waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps, meat, and bones from approximately 4,000 homes across five collection routes. The neighbourhoods were chosen to reflect the diversity of Winnipeg, types of homes, and how their waste is collected.
The project will provide the City with knowledge of how to collect organic waste from all homes in Winnipeg.
As the City of Winnipeg responds to the provincial government’s reopening and recovery plans Mayor Bowman has made changes to leadership roles at City Hall.
I have accepted a new role as chair of the standing policy committee on property development, heritage, and downtown development and will carry on as a member of the executive policy committee.
In addition, I will continue to serve as chair of the Winnipeg housing steering committee, chair of the Winnipeg committee for safety, and member of Winnipeg’s UN women safe cities global initiative steering committee.
One of the key jobs in this new role is to participate in the OurWinnipeg review process.
I want to send a heartfelt congratulations to all of this year’s high school graduates from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute, Gordon Bell High School,and Tec Voc High School - or wherever you may have studied. I am always inspired by seeing young people graduate.
You should be proud of your accomplishments and celebrate the hard work that has led you to this day. Growing up in the West End, I have so many fond memories of my time at Tec Voc. My sister Pam went to Daniel McIntyre so, of course, that made for a fun rivalry.
With two daughters at home, I know the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has created for our young people. This should be a time when they are enjoying their grads, finding a summer job, and preparing for post-secondary education in the fall. Instead they are facing so much worry and uncertainty about their futures.
Our high schools’ teachers, staff and administration recognize the importance of graduation and are finding innovative ways, within health guidelines, to commemorate this milestone in the lives of our students.