The City of Winnipeg recently unveiled a controversial plan to turn what is currently an underpopulated section of downtown into a residential neighbourhood. In a bid to fill empty condos and spur development of new ones in the heritage Exchange District, the city plans to fork over $10,000 cheques to anyone who buys a condo in the area and commits to living there for at least five years.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the bizarre $2.3-million incentive is part of a larger $7.8-million plan to kickstart development of the Exchange Waterfront Neighbourhood, an area that is rich in heritage appeal, but lacking in actual persons buying into the expensive renovated condos in the area. The money for the Exchange Waterfront Neighbourhood Development Plan is to come from future property taxes.
The rest of the $$$ is earmarked for things like marketing, development of parking and car-share options, safety improvements and (my personal favourite) “$120,000 over seven years to cost-share the creation of more patios.” Winnipeggers love their patios, and I am one of them, let me tell you! But we really only get to make use out of the bloody things three to four months of the year, if we’re lucky.
But $120,000 for patios is a far cry better than $2.3 million in $10,000 cheques to rich people for buying condos in an area where typical residents barely make $10,000 in a year. And this comes after developers were given $20,000 per unit to develop the condos in the first place. $30,000 per unit of taxpayer cash is a pretty sweet penny. Maybe I should get into the business of
robbing taxpayers blind property development?
Of course, Peg City Twitter types took to the issue straight away:
Lack of DT housing in #Winnipeg for newcomers & low-income people. But $10,000 subsidy if you are rich, & can afford to buy a condo. Nice.
— David Jacks (@JacksActII) July 17, 2013
If you want to bribe people to live in condos in 6 square blocks, but fear zoning reforms for anywhere in Wpg, you might be on #wpgcouncil.
— Robert Galston (@riseandsprawl) July 17, 2013
Then again, maybe everyone’s overreacting? Those condo buyers will probably take those 10Gs and trickle that scrill down to the multitudes of the poor who currently call our downtown streets home. That’s how the economy works, don’t it?
Fuck sakes, Winnipeg.
[image via AdolfGalland/Flickr]