Charleswood needs more people to grow business


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/04/2022 (408 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In my March 8 column (“Assessing the future of Charleswood”, Free Press Community Review, West edition), I raised concerns about what I thought to be a lack of business growth in Charleswood. Reader Raymon Grewal wrote to suggest that it is not only business growth that is declining. It is also Charleswood’s population. This surprised me. People want to live in Charleswood so I assumed the residential area had continued to grow.

However, his email included a link to a website that maps out the areas of Winnipeg that gained and lost population during between 2016 and 2021.

“Almost all neighbourhoods in Charleswood lost population, and the ones that gained population grew much slower than the City of Winnipeg’s average population growth during this time period,” he pointed out.

Reader Raymon Grewal contends that more multi-family housing in Charleswood, such as the Westboine Park Housing Co-op, will help revive and renew the area.

Grewal, who is currently studying urban development, offered some suggestions as to why this may be happening. I have paraphrased his observations and suggestions in the following synopsis:

The main reason for the decline in population is there isn’t enough housing and, in particular, multi-family housing being built in Charleswood, Grewal said. People who have lived in the area for 20-plus years may be downsizing. The kids start moving out for independent living and since they can’t afford the real estate prices in the area, they move to a different part of the city or leave the city altogether. Another demographic that may be leaving the area is the 55-plus community, who can’t maintain a house and need to move to assisted living complexes. They may have to leave Charleswood because there aren’t enough multi-family housing units, he says.

“The area needs to add more people and densify around commercial nodes”, Grewal said, explaining that multi-family housing needs to be built near core services such as grocery stores, schools and restaurants. Examples of commercial nodes include Charleswood Centre on Grant Avenue Boulevard Plaza on Roblin Boulevard and Park West near the perimeter.

Multi-family developments are more environmentally and economically sustainable, and lower the individual tax burden of each resident, he pointed out.

Grewal isn’t against single-family houses, but he said the community needs to have a shared vision for the future, and stop opposing new development because it ‘hurts the character of the neighbourhood.’

“In 2022, we can’t keep building our neighbourhoods like it’s the 1970s. It’s time to build up, not outward!”

Construction projects contribute significantly to economic development, he concluded. They provide jobs to local residents and allow people opportunities to shop at local businesses. New developments will increase population in the area, and that will mean more business for the area.

In reading the March 22 issue of the Free Press Community Review’s West edition, I noticed an article stating Westboine Park Housing Co-op is in the final stages of renovation, and recall thinking this is the kind of multi-family unit that Grewal is referring to. I hope readers appreciate his perspective.

Donna Minkus

Donna Minkus
Charleswood community correspondent

Donna Minkus is a community correspondent for Charleswood.

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