Winnipeg's mayor is requesting that the public be fully informed of a new long-term land use and servicing plan being put forth by the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) in response to concerns raised by Manitoba municipal councils.
A motion by Mayor Brian Bowman is recommending that City Council request a publicly released draft of Plan20-50 from the WMR.
The WMR is also asked in the motion to allow all 18 municipal councils within its jurisdiction an opportunity to review and formally approve draft Plan20-50 before it is sent to the Manitoba government for consideration.
Bowman's motion reportedly seeks to give a voice to the councils in the WMR that would be impacted by the drafted plan.
"For Plan20-50 to truly have legitimacy, it needs the support of the 18 democratically elected Councils that make up the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region board," Bowman says.
"That’s why the motion being published today seeks to give all 18 Councils a voice on Plan20- 50."
The motion will be introduced at the Executive Policy Meeting held on Jan. 20.
Bowman says the plan has the potential to allow the 18 municipal councils future growth.
Included in the motion is a directive that the public service report back to Council within 60 days with a report on Bill 37 that identifies major changes from earlier Bill 48 and aspects of Bill 37 that may require formal direction or input from Winnipeg's City Council.
Bill 37 came about in response to reviewing the key recommendations of the 2019 Planning, Zoning and Permitting report. According to the province, this bill is intended to improve the efficiency and transparency of land use planning.
The goal of the legislation is to streamline planning and approval processes on private-sector capital investment opportunities, municipal relations minister Rochelle Squires said in a Nov. 2020 release.
The bill proposes significant changes to the land use planning appeal process. It also establishes a Capital Planning Region for the WMR.
A significant aspect of Bill 37 is the requirement that WMR adopt a regional plan for the next 30 years, at minimum. This is how Plan20-50 was created.
At this time, however, Bill 37 does not require the municipal councils impacted to review and approve the plan before it is sent for review to the province.
Selkirk and West St. Paul are among the municipalities that have expressed concerns about Plan20-50. Both municipal councils are in support of making the public plan while also giving municipal councils a voice in the process.
"With the dramatic changes proposed by the Province of Manitoba in Bill 37, Plan20-50 will have a significant impact on all businesses, citizens and property owners living within the Winnipeg Metro Region (WMR) boundaries," says Larry Johannson, mayor of Selkirk.
"I support Mayor Bowman’s recommendations for a more transparent and democratic process for the approval of the Winnipeg Metro Region’s Plan20-50."
"As Mayor of West St. Paul, I fully support Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and his request that a regional plan impacting planning, infrastructure and growth in our communities be reviewed and approved by all Councils in the region and be made available to our residents and businesses for review," says Mayor Cheryl Christian.
"The creation of a comprehensive plan for our region must be an open and inclusive process."
If the motion is approved by the Executive Policy Committee, it will move to a vote by Winnipeg City Council on Jan. 28.