Giving central Winnipeg new life


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/01/2018 (1973 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A great feature of living in a mature neighbourhood is being reminded of history. Neighbourhoods grow and change over the course of the decades, as unexpected trends and developments arise to meet shifting preferences.

You can see it in the old houses in the West End, built along sidewalks and often smaller than those in newer developments in car-centric suburbs. You can also see new buildings and new stores give new life to central city blocks as familiar shops leave.

A 2011 report by the West Broadway Community Organization states that the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s recession led to significant challenges with unemployment and poverty, both nationally and in the West Broadway neighbourhood.

It is reasonable suspect that the long-term  post-war trend of many middle income families buying homes in newer suburbs combined with downturn to spell disaster for the inner city in the 1990s.

Many inner city homes values slumped to the point at which repairs were not worth it. Steep population decline occurred in the inner city between 1970 and 1996. In West Broadway the neighbourhood population cratered from 6,545 in 1986 to 5,045 in 2001. Measures like the development of community organizations and the establishment of a credit union branch in West Broadway to serve residents were heralded by community activists as important to stem decline.

But the 21st century has been better for Winnipeg’s inner city.

Property assessment data released by the City in 2014 showed that between 2012 and 2014 homes in the inner city increased 19 per cent in value, on average. This was the greatest increase anywhere in the city (which averaged 12 per cent overall). This has led, on the flip side, to new concerns about rising tax bills and preserving the central city’s affordable housing stock. Furthermore, West Broadway has seen its population rise from 5,045 in 2001 to 5,330 in 2011.

There is surely a complex set of reasons for the recovery of inner city neighbourhoods since the 1990s. Matters like a better macroeconomic climate definitely play a role but there may be a shift among some to a preference for urban living.

A major factor in my decision to move to a house in West Broadway was its nearness to various stores and downtown destinations, making it easier to get by with minimal car use. In this area, I frequently spot cyclists, even in late December and early January.

Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for West Broadway.

Dylon Martin

Dylon Martin
West Broadway community correspondent

Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for West Broadway.

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