Municipalities and urban development

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It was 8:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in late June. Kids and parents trickled into the playground. There was a buzz outside Dr. Edgar Davey Elementary School in central Hamilton, Ontario. School was almost done and the excitement was palpable.
First published in the Winnipeg Free Press Dec 12, 2016 The provincial government has halted funding for Neighbourhoods Alive! This is a serious mistake.
Pursuant to new provincial and federal effluent guidelines, the City of Portage la Prairie is required to upgrade its wastewater facilities, known as the Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF). The new Public-Private Partnership (P3) project has not undergone public scrutiny. Past examples point to P3s being more expensive than public management of these project.
TORONTO – A proposal to partially sell off a long held public asset, Toronto Hydro, could turn the private sector’s gain into Toronto consumers’ pain, says a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office (CCPA-Ontario). Selling off part of Toronto Hydro would result in the City of Toronto ceding the control it now has over electricity prices, hydro service reliability, and environmental stewardship in the face of catastrophic climate change.
A proposal to partially sell off a long held public asset, Toronto Hydro, could turn the private sector’s gain into consumers’ pain. This study finds that selling off part of Toronto Hydro would result in the City of Toronto ceding the control it now has over electricity prices, hydro service reliability, and environmental stewardship over green energy innovation in the face of catastrophic climate change.
Winnipeg City Council is currently considering a development fee to ensure that suburban growth in our city pays its fair share of city-wide infrastructure needs. Such fees are nothing new: municipalities surrounding Winnipeg levy them as do most major Canadian cities. Winnipeg developers are up in arms and do not want to pay the proposed development fee. In this stance they are being consistent with the historic position of the industry in our city, an industry that has had significant influence over Winnipeg City Hall, especially in promoting costly suburban sprawl.
Book Review Although Carlo Fanelli’s book Megacity Malaise: Neoliberalism, Public Services and Labour in Toronto is not about Winnipeg, it offers many insights applicable to Winnipeg and to other Canadian cities. Fanelli is a former Toronto civic employee who looks at civic issues from the point of view of city employees and their unions. His central argument is that the fiscal problems confronting Toronto and all major Canadian cities are not caused by over-spending on civic services nor by excessive union wage demands, although this is what is typically claimed.
“Sharing economy” giants such as Airbnb — a multinational online short-term rental “home sharing” platform — have grown immensely in popularity over the past few years.
This fall Winnipeg City Council will determine the future of waste and recycling collection in our city.  Current contracts with Emterra Environmental and Progressive Waste Services will expire in 2017.  At least eight private companies have expressed interest in putting forward a proposal, and it will be up to council to select from the various applicants. While garbage is generally not a “sexy” topic, there are many reasons why the public should be paying attention.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Manitoba office interviews Social Enterprise participants from Build and Manitoba Green Retrofit.  Great stories and great ideas.

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