The merits of infill housing guidelines


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This article was published 03/11/2020 (941 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Thank you to all Winnipeggers who recently completed the new infill housing guidelines survey.

The City’s passionate and hardworking urban planners developed a survey on small and medium infill housing development with the intent of creating guidelines meant to ease conflict within communities, some of which have become far too heated lately, resulting in hard feelings and some infill home residents feeling unwelcome, while residents in older homes feel alienated.

We need to keep this discussion positive and proactive.

Winnipeg Free Press file photo by Ken Gigliotti The need for infill housing guidelines has become a hot topic in older neighbourhoods. Winnipeggers recently participated in a survey from which new guidelines will be drawn up.

The survey provided precise and detailed options about things such as height, side yards, setbacks, and styles.

I hope the new guidelines will help us make infill housing work as well as it can.

I also recently moved to strengthen standards for conduct on infill construction sites, addressing a recurring source of tension.

Why do I believe infill development is so important, so positive, so necessary for our neighbourhoods?

• Infill housing and development density is essential to meet climate change targets;

• Infill is good for the taxpayers’ bottom line;

• Infill housing uses existing facilities such as roads, community centres, pipes;

• Infill housing can lower individual taxes over time via fixed mill rates in a given area;

• Infill housing rejuvenates our communities by replacing failed housing stock and bringing young people and families back into mature neighbourhoods;

• Infill housing provides new, modern housing in old neighbourhoods where many young people want to live;

• Infill housing can refill our mature neighbourhood streets and community centres with children and activity.

Above all, I know that change is inevitable in any neighbourhood. Our choice isn’t between change and the status quo — it’s between guided positive change or stagnation.

The work must continue past the guidelinesm however. I successfully championed the update of the North St Boniface Secondary Plan, a sort of hyper-local and precise neighborhood urban plan.

We need secondary plans like it in other neighbourhoods, too. Over time, I envision them in Central St Boniface, Norwood East, and eventually to guide and manage growth in old suburbs such as Windsor Park.

My recently adopted motion, Secondary Plans to Capital Budget, would create a new sustainable way of funding them.

Finally, I co-authored a motion with Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) last year that would see the increased tax revenues associated with infill projects returned to communities in some way.

If a lot-split generates X new $ of taxes more than the original property did, a portion of those funds would either be set aside for community benefit or neighbouring individuals. I want the positive economic benefits of infill to touch people directly.

That idea and other plans are due to come forward with the updated guidelines.

Stay tuned

Matt Allard

Matt Allard
St. Boniface ward report

Matt Allard is the city councillor for St. Boniface.

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