On July 15th, 2014 the Downtown Community Residents’ Association reached out to all mayoral candidates. We offered them the opportunity to respond to some important questions from downtown residents. (See the full questionnaire here.) We’ll be posting the full responses from each candidate individually in order to give our community – and the entire City of Winnipeg – the opportunity to see each candidate’s vision for the downtown. The responses will be posted in the order the were received from each candidate.
Below are the responses from Brian Bowman.
1. Downtown really is vital to the city and we will be releasing policies throughout the campaign that focus on downtown development and attracting more businesses and residential properties to the area. One thing we need to do is focus on investments in public amenities to create demand for business, residential, and mixed used properties to foster an atmosphere that is attractive to all Winnipeggers.
2. There should be a multi-pronged approach to deal with downtown parking, which includes public transit, integrated with rest of city, so downtown residents don’t absolutely need to own a car. We should look at other solutions such as promoting car share. For future developments we should encourage stand alone parkades to have ground level retail.
3. We need to draw more people downtown, creating demand in the market and making it more attractive to private sector retail. I would cooperate with agencies already working on these issues such the Downtown Biz, Yes! Winnipeg, Centre Venture and the real estate community. I would also encourage the development of downtown coops.
4. It is a a real shame that the downtown does not have a community centre or other public space to serve as a meeting place. I would begin by assessing and identifying current public assets and finding provide sector partners to create community spaces. I would also work with City Hall administration to open up city properties including city hall for community gatherings.
5. There needs to be better planning and input from stakeholders to provide practical solutions to ensure the safety of cyclists. One thing we definitely need is better signage. The Open Data and Open Government plans I have released would be helpful in this area. We should be giving more information to cyclists and the cycling community and engaging those who have the most knowledge of cycling downtown and allowing crowd sourcing of solutions.
6. We need to see greater density downtown. If predictions by the Conference Board of Canada are correct that we will have one million people by 2035. I’d like to see a higher proportion of those people living downtown. There should be a diversity of options for residents whether rented or owned units. We are working on further policies that will address these issues and will be releasing them throughout the campaign.
7. The biggest step towards making downtown more walkable is to open up Portage and Main to pedestrians. We should explore creating weekend or permanent pedestrian malls downtown. I have proposed an Office of Public Engagement which would reach out to residents, business owners and community groups like yours to find the best streets to make this happen.
8. I agree that we’re on the wrong track and there is a lot of work ahead in fixing the relationship between the decisions makers at city hall and residents of the city. That’s why we have have proposed an Office of Public Engagement. This new office will serve as the central system supporting all city projects. It will ensure that there is consistency and transparency in sharing information with citizens on all projects, so that no project can slip through the cracks or fall off the radar until it is too late.
The Downtown Community Residents’ Association would like to thank Brian Bowman and his campaign for taking the time to respond to the questions from our residents. You can learn more about his campaign here. For responses from other mayoral candidates visit the DRCA election 2014 section.