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  • Winnipeg Tribune

Winnipeg is Sitting on 5,000 New Residences - Who is Responsible for the Dealy?

Sunday, September 17, 2023 - In the face of an affordable housing crisis, Winnipeg is grappling with affordable housing for its residents. Why?

First, the elected officials of the Winnipeg City Council need to accept responsibility for the lack of housing available in the city. It could be said that City Councillors are to blame for delaying the development of Parker Lands, which would provide over 1,900 residences. City officials' decisions may cost us, the taxpayers, approximately $100 million.

Another large-scale project at CF Polo Park shopping centre in Winnipeg would see a multi-tower residential development with about 3,700 rental units. Elected officials delayed this development. What is the status of those massive developments today?

Those two projects could provide over 5,000 residences, which many say would go a long way in solving the housing needs in Winnipeg. Some will argue that many of these residences would already be housing people if not for the delays by the City of Winnipeg.

The city leaders need to take accountability for delays as a first step. While there is no silver bullet to solve this crisis, city officials must immediately remove excessive red tape in the construction process. Here's why:

The housing affordability crisis is not just an economic issue; it's a humanitarian one. Families are being priced out of their neighbourhoods, and many individuals are forced to make impossible choices between housing, healthcare, education, and other basic necessities. Red tape only exacerbates this crisis by adding delays and costs to the construction of affordable housing.

The amount of Red tape, in the form of cumbersome regulations and excessive permitting requirements, drives up the cost of construction. These costs are then passed on to consumers, making homes even less affordable. By streamlining the construction process, Winnipeg can significantly reduce these unnecessary expenses and ultimately lower housing costs.

It's a fundamental economic principle that increasing the supply of a product can help control its price. If Winnipeg made it easier for developers to build affordable housing, it would stimulate the housing market, increasing the supply of available homes. This, in turn, helps to temper the rising prices and makes homeownership more attainable for the average citizen.

Removing red tape also encourages innovation in construction methods and design. Due to the regulatory hurdles involved, developers often hesitate to embrace new, cost-effective technologies. By simplifying the permitting process, Winnipeg can incentivize using sustainable and efficient building techniques that can further reduce costs and environmental impacts.

A more efficient housing construction process doesn't just benefit prospective homeowners; it also fuels economic growth. Building affordable housing creates jobs, stimulates local businesses, and generates tax revenue for our city. It's a win-win situation that can help cities address multiple challenges simultaneously.

Housing is more than just bricks and mortar; it's the foundation of vibrant, diverse communities. When affordable housing is more accessible, communities become more inclusive and diverse. Removing red tape encourages mixed-income neighbourhoods, fostering social integration and reducing economic disparities.

Stable housing is a critical factor in social stability. Families that have secure housing are better equipped to invest in their future, including education and job opportunities. Reducing the barriers to affordable housing can have a cascading effect on the well-being of individuals and communities as a whole.

City Council has a reputation for delaying the building process and must eliminate red tape in the construction process. It is not a panacea for the affordable housing crisis but an essential step towards a solution. Winnipeg City Council must recognize that outdated regulations and excessive bureaucracy hinder progress. By streamlining the construction process and incentivizing the development of affordable housing, we can begin to make housing more accessible and affordable for all, ultimately creating more equitable and prosperous cities.

It's time to cut through the red tape and build a brighter, more affordable future for Winnipeg.


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