Saturday 16 February 2008

Winnipeg Department of Spending Money

Why aren't I surprised:

"When it comes to long-range planning ... Winnipeg has no one working on it at all."

This from former city planner Jacqueline East in her final report, as per today's Freep. (link) She confirmed what many of us suspected: that city-planning is a "crisis-driven process" with very little forward thinking actually going on.

Of course Mayor Sammy denies everything, but East puts forward as evidence of our low priority on planning the low number of planning staff -- 19 -- as compared to similarly sized Hamilton with 57 or Edmonton with 58. Councilor Swandel responds with this gem:

He said the planning department's $40-million budget last year was just shy of the $41.5 million Edmonton devoted to its planning department. Winnipeg committed $3.8 million to land-use planning, Swandel added. Ottawa, with an overall budget twice as large as Winnipeg's, committed $3.87 million to its "community and planning design."

"When you compare apples to apples in those other cities, we're getting the job done," Swandel said.

Uh, Mr. Swandel ... I shouldn't have to point this out, but the job isn't to spend money. The job is to intelligently plan the development of the city. Look around, man. Look at the ever-growing number of traffic lights on Bishop Grandin and Route 90, linking our new schooless sprawling suburbs to the traffic chaos around Polo Park. We're not getting the job done.

And by the way, how do we manage to spend $40m with 19 planners, when Edmonton's budget for 3 times the number of planners is only 4% more? Can we maybe take some of that money and build a freakin' overpass or two so I can get to the airport in under 45 minutes?

1 comment:

PITT said...

Great post and you are dead on correct. I have to go now to catch my flight to Calgary.

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