Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One Perfect City?

I usually don't like to talk about politics too much, but with an upcoming civic election in Winnipeg it makes you think. With our current Mayor, it will be business as usual after the vote. Translated, that will mean it'll be exactly the same as before, we had our chance for change, but we blew it! In the weeks ahead I'll follow along with the rest of you seeking some kind of salvation or trying to read through the promises (lies) from the candidates.

Winnipeg band the Weakerthans posted, "Weakerthans Perfect City Campaign" on their website, which compiles their wishes for a better city:

1. The Red River Is Not A Sewer Pipe
Fix the City's sewage treatment plants. Remember in 2004 when raw waste poured into the Red River? This must be dealt with immediately. What is more important, potholes or Lake Winnipeg? Apparently to Sam Katz and City Council, potholes are.
2. No More Riverbank Development
Prevent pollution—keep the remaining uundeveloped river banks lined with forest. The Trees filter out natural and man made run off. The run off ends up in the lake down stream contributing to dead zones in the north basin and poisonous algae blooms in the south.
3. No More Parking Lots Downtown
Heritage buildings are vital to Winnipeg, and those we have left are thesoul of our city.
4. No to Waverly West
10,000 new homes. Where? Oh, out by the dump. Makes sense. Empty lots within the core of the city should be filled before any development on the Waverly West project goes ahead.
5. Like a local ecomomy? No To Walmart and Thier Big Box Buddies
Where to begin... Local business can't compete with the #1 enemy of local economies who build cinder block shells and acres of asphalt. Paying our citizens terrible wages to man their isles. Sending profits out of the city to their stock-holders. Killing the centers of the city by drawing people away from the city itself to their temporary shelters. Then closing up and moving on. Follow Vancouver's example. Ban any further Walmart development.

1. Dedicated Bicycle Lanes
The attempt at providing a shared lane for both bicycles and buses is not adequate and failed as a project. It is very dangerous to ride a bicycle on Winnipeg streets these days. The use of bicycles has obvious benefits (eliminate traffic, pollution, etc.), and Winnipeg has the potential to achieve safe and effective bicycle lanes, with spending being matched by reduction in road wear.
2.Reinvent the City Bus
Proper bus shelters with heat and lights would be a good start. Lower bus fares to increase ridership.
3. Subway
See and be conviced.

Landfills will kill us someday. seepage into rivers is a major problem here. That Brady dump is a few kms from the Seine — where do you think the seepage goes? Here are some easy solutions to immediately reducing waste that the city could implement:
1. Ban on all single use drink bottles
Legislate mandatory use of reusable heavy grade glass bottles by bottling and drink manufactures and a collection system operated by all bottling and drink companies selling products in the city of Winnipeg. And bring back Pic A Pop.
2. Ban all those needlessly destructive plastic bags from use in stores
3. Compostable Garbage Pick up
Separate pick up for compostables. Even Toronto seems to be able to do this, for crap's sake.

Try Kaj! -- Visit

"One Great City! "(A great early live version; Feb24, 2002 WECC, Winnipeg, MB) - Weakerthans

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More and better bike paths are a definate need as is an end to river bank developement.

The issue of river bank stablization is important as well. A meandering river with heavy periodic flows tends to change its banks on a very regular basis, creating new paths and leaving oxbow lakes. That unfortunately would wipe out alot of properties. Either way it will be expensive and some long term and decisive thinking will be needed.

A properly designed, built and and managed landfill should not leach... anymore than a good clay pot will leach as they are essentially the same material... clay. Clay can be a terrific barrier, better than plastics for this type of use I would think but I am not an expert.