Report cites need for regional approach among Winnipeg-area municipalities

WINNIPEG— A new report calls for municipalities in the greater Winnipeg area to work more closely together to spur economic growth and make better use of land development.

The consultant’s report done for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region says the Manitoba government should appoint a regional planning authority to co-ordinate development in the area.

The report from Dentons Canada LLP says municipalities would still have their own local planning departments, but the regional authority would oversee some larger projects.

The report says that approach would make things easier for businesses that want to invest in the area.

It also says services such as landfills and firefighting could be shared among Winnipeg and 17 surrounding communities, including Selkirk, Stonewall and Niverville.

Premier Brian Pallister says the aim is not amalgamation, but co-ordination in order to make the region more competitive on the international stage.

The report follows a study by the Manitoba government in May that called Winnipeg’s planning department dysfunctional due to slow, cumbersome processes for obtaining permits.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he was optimistic following Thursday’s report.

“We need to look beyond … political turf wars and we need to look at how can we provide better services to the citizens and the businesses that we all serve,” Bowman said.

“We’re seeing a collaborative spirit from the provincial government and from the capital region, as well as from the City of Winnipeg officials, that we haven’t seen before in my lifetime.”

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