I would like to thank Mayor Bowman for raising his concerns and his recommendations for a more transparent and democratic process for the approval of the Winnipeg Metro Region’s Plan 20-50.
As Mayor Bowman rightly points out, with the dramatic changes proposed by the Province of Manitoba in Bill 37, this document will have significant impact on all property owners, businesses, citizens and living within the Winnipeg Metro Region (WMR) boundaries. If approved, the policies it imposes will likely have significant impacts on the value of property and will bind elected councils, and therefore communities, to a new set of principles and standards that may or may not reflect the values and needs of our citizens. In short it, combined with Bill 37, will remake the governance structure of the capital region.
On January 11th, Selkirk Council passed a resolution unanimously endorsing Mayor Bowman’s recommendations. They in fact, mirror the suggestions Selkirk has made to the Winnipeg Metro Region Board in the past.
Specifically, we believe that before the WMR submits this plan to the Province of Manitoba, they must:
• make the full plan public, for citizens and stakeholders to review and understand; and
• submit the plan to all WMR member municipalities for review, debate, and formal approval.
Mayor Bowman is the fourth Mayor in recent weeks to formally raise questions over the process being followed by the WMR. He joins Mayor Cheryl Christian from West St. Paul, Mayor John Mauseth from the RM of Headingly and myself. Given that Mayor Bowman represents the vast majority of the citizens impacted by this proposed remaking of the governance structure in the capital region, I call upon the WMR board to accept his recommendations and make this process more open, transparent, and most critically, democratic.
Without these steps being taken, Plan 20-50 cannot be seen as a plan supported by the municipalities in the region. Its adoption could then only be seen as a top-down imposition by the Province of Manitoba.