No Budget for SW Winnipeg Rec Complex for Next 6+ Years

The Mayor, his Executive Policy Committee, the Deputy Mayor and Acting Deputy Mayor comprised the 2018 Budget Working Group at City Hall.  They crafted the City’s Preliminary 2018 Budget and did NOT identify capital funding for a recreation complex in South West Winnipeg.

As budgets represent City priorities, this translates into no funding.  Therefore, a recreation complex is not a priority in SW Winnipeg for the next 6 years and beyond.

TO BE CLEAR:

  • It is the City’s mandate and responsibility to deliver recreational services.  This is a MUNICIPAL responsibility, as is sewer, water and police protection.
  • For example, the Province is responsible to deliver healthcare, and the Federal government is responsible to deliver housing. IF a municipal government (the City) wants to support health or housing initiatives – they can – but it is NOT the municipality’s responsibility.
  • Recreation is NOT the responsibility of the Provincial or Federal Governments.
  • IF the Province/Federal government want to support recreational projects that the City has IDENTIFIED in a budgeting process, they can and in fact, have done so.
  • But never do the Province or Federal government study or establish recreational priorities for the City of Winnipeg.

Mayor Bowman is stating there is no recreation funding for a SW Winnipeg Recreation Complex because the Province is cutting recreation funding.  It is NOT the Province’s mandate to deliver recreation services. Mayor Bowman is not clear on municipal responsibilities. It is the City of Winnipeg’s responsibility to deliver recreational services.

The City has limited funding – we all understand that.  What I and residents of SW Winnipeg don’t understand is why funding for a recreation complex is not being projected for over the next 6+ years.

  • The City’s 2018 Preliminary Budget and the 5-Year Budget Forecast to 2023 DO NOT contain any capital funding for construction of a recreational facility in South Winnipeg*.
  • As recreation is a CITY RESPONSIBILITY, the City of Winnipeg must first identify specific projects so that other levels of government can determine which projects they will support, if they choose to do so.

This is yet ANOTHER example of very poor City planning that is now going to cost taxpayers even more.

  • Terry Duguid, the area’s Federal Member of Parliament, has REPEATEDLY stated ‘funding a new recreation complex for South West Winnipeg is my number one priority’.
  • I recently met with The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi (Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities) and reconfirmed the Federal Government will provide funding to municipalities which have IDENTIFIED recreational projects (NOTE:  I’ve worked in fund development with levels of government for  many years, and it is rare that the Federal government provides this type of funding).

 

A REVIEW OF THE FACTS

  • Two City reports (Public Use Facilities Study & Plan 2025) stated there was a recreation deficit in SW Winnipeg BEFORE a shovel went in the ground to build Waverley West.
  • Waverley West’s population will soon be the size of Brandon, MB (40,000+) which has 10 recreational centers and 18 schools.
  • Waverley West is Winnipeg’s fastest growing community, and will be completed faster than originally anticipated.
  • A new civic electoral ward is in the process of being created for Waverley West because it has grown so rapidly.
  • The South Winnipeg Community Centre catchment area has 50,000+ residents using TWO rooms in old rec complexes that are not meeting the community’s needs. These rooms (3800 and 2700 sq. ft.) are not regulation size for basketball, volley ball, court sports or soccer.
  • According to the City of Winnipeg’s RECREATION  POLICY:
    • There should currently be 5 traditional sized community centers operating in South West Winnipeg
    • There should also be 1.88 sq.ft of heated recreation space per person.  But in 2016, SW Winnipeg had .67 sq ft of heated recreation space per person.
  • École South Pointe School which opened LESS than one year ago is already at capacity
  • Children are being turned away for the winter soccer season, and it’s anticipated the same will occur in spring.
  • Community groups are meeting in basements as there are no available facilities.
  • Crime will increase; study after study reflect recreational activities reduce crime.
  • Health budgets will increase; study after study reflect active, healthy lifestyles reduce health costs.
  • City of Winnipeg Impact Fees (while not yet proven to be legal to collect) do NOT have to be re-invested into the community they are drawn from. So even if Waverley West generates millions in impact fees – 2/3 of City Council ultimately decides where the funding will be invested.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

HOW could a brand new development be planned with NO thought for development of a recreation complex?  How could land not be set aside? How does this happen?

  • It stems from the fact that CITY COUNCIL is supreme, and can make decisions which supersede the recommendations of planners or developers.
  • Prior COUNCILS did not prioritize or plan for recreation.
  • The City’s 2018 Preliminary Budget reflects that COUNCIL CONTINUES to make POOR PLANNING decisions – which will impact the lives of tens of thousands.

Since being elected, I’ve been working to secure pockets of funding for planning, a library, land, etc.  BUT still NO FUNDING is prioritized between now and 2023 to actually build the buildings – and none forecasted beyond (see article submitted to Sou’Wester for Nov 28th publication).

 

NEXT STEPS IN THE PROCESS

The South Winnipeg Community Center will be presenting on this issue to the Mayor and Council.  Residents who wish to provide feedback can send an email to the Mayor and the budget working group – see contacts below.

I will also be presenting at upcoming meetings of the Property Planning, Community Services and EPC Budget committees.  Residents are also welcome to register to speak, and express your concerns: SEE DETAILS


Contacts for City Hall Budget Working Group:

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION on www.JaniceLukes.ca :

 

*CITY BUDGETS FOR 2017 AND 2018

 

 

 

 

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