The Creswin Properties proposal for a new stadium and waterfront development in Winnipeg’s South Point Douglas neighbourhood looks beautiful, doesn’t it? There’s no denying that, but maybe now it’s time to take a look at what happened in Edmonton, when Triple Five Corporation made an irresistible offer to obtain a massive commitment of public funds and then used local politicians’ commitment to keep them on-side, even as the more attractive features of the original offer were withdrawn, and its price increased.
You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be attracted to the beautiful images below, which appeared today in the Winnipeg Free Press. But as they admire the images, Winnipeg’s citizens and decision-makers should bear a couple of other things in mind.
In the first place, don’t lose sight of the fact that the Point Douglas neighbourhood, which has been through a lot of very hard times, has lately accomplished the difficult task of getting itself organized and attacking some of the problems that have plagued it. A massive public facility, with the inevitable multitudes of automobiles and crowds of people, leaving bottles, wrappers and chicken bones in their wake, is a huge liability to a residential neighbourhood.
Do the developers have anything better to offer the neighbourhood than rowdy football fans, broken glass and half-eaten corn dogs?
Citizens and decision-makers should also bear in mind that the pictures, by the developer’s own admission, are just drawings, with no commitment behind them. If we’re going to consider spending our hard-earned tax dollars to visit this development upon Point Douglas, we had better note what happened in Edmonton, – just one example of many such instances – and make sure that we learn from those mistakes.