Why and how did we lose the Starlight deal?


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/10/2021 (589 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I am highly disappointed with the City of Winnipeg’s current administration over the loss of Starlight Investments proposed redevelopment of Portage Place.

The sale of the mall would have created a modern, mixed-income community and shopping area. The circumstances of how Starlight decided to walk away are a source of speculation and concern.

How can the City of Winnipeg sit back and watch a half a billion-dollar investment in our downtown walk away? And why did the administration wait for 20 days to inform city council after the investment company asked for its deposit back?

The mall has been for sale for quite some time and nobody had even made an offer until Starlight expressed interest.

There was an opportunity here. More importantly, Starlight’s was the only offer we had. It was a fantastic way to rejuvenate downtown.

Starlight was seeking $60 million in grants before moving ahead with a half-a billion-dollar project.

The province and city offered incentives, then sat back. Starlight requested an extension which passed at council by just one vote. What kind of message did that send to the developer?

I was told of the collapsed deal via an email from the city’s chief administrative officer during a council meeting on Sept. 29. City officials, leadership, and the administration were apparently informed on Sept. 9. So why did they not notify all members of the council?

One councillor shared the news with the media. The response from leadership? Sending an email to all members of the council shaming him and stating that information we receive is confidential.

Why were essential details of this sale confidential?

Residents elected me, and I work for residents, not the administration. Some on council have blamed Starlight for not telling council members, effectively shifting the blame to the potential investors.

Others are ignoring the bad news.

How does that help? We need to act and save this investment now.

If I was in charge, I would have kept working with the organization from day one, met with all city councillors, updated them on  progress, and done the work to ensure we secured the investment.

It’s our job to help improve the city while in office. The investment dollars and future tax revenues from this sale would benefit us all for years to come.

Is it not our obligation to make the city better? Are you happy paying people to focus on virtue-signaling and social media posts that advance their political careers?  

I was elected to work for residents, not keep secrets from them. I will ask the tough questions. I will hold people in power accountable. No matter how hard they attempt to discredit me and paint me as being negative.

I will close with a favourite quote of mine:

“Truth does not mind being questioned. Deception does not like to be challenged.”

Kevin Klein

Kevin Klein
Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood ward report

Kevin Klein is the city councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood.

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