Did crammed agenda cause $10K condo debacle at city hall?
Former advisor says lack of meetings in August leads to crammed agendas, mistakes in July
A former advisor to Winnipeg’s mayor thinks city council’s crammed summer schedule could be leading to costly errors at city hall.
Recently, city council approved a $10,000 incentive for people who bought condominiums in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, part of an $8-million plan for downtown development.
The incentive was meant to help bump up stagnant condo sales in the area after a report said a number of new builds could be stalled by the low numbers.
The motion was passed 13 to three. But shortly after, councillors soured on the deal, and concerns originally raised by the motion’s dissenters were echoed by councillors who originally lauded the idea.
St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes said he read the report and opposed it from the beginning -- but because there’s no council meeting in August, it meant other councillors had a lot to review before their July meeting.
"It would have been more useful to get more of the details and allow people more questions," said Mayes.
A former advisor to Mayor Sam Katz said the crammed July agenda can lead to policy problems.
"Councillors are not just being lazy on due diligence and being too careless in terms of politics -- there’s a serious process problem," said Brian Kelcey. "This is real estate season when you need most approvals for construction projects, bylaws, rezoning. So all that stuff crams into the July agenda."
Kelcey said a possible solution could be adding an August session for council, so things aren’t rushed through.
Brian Mayes said he is open to the idea.
"Maybe that says we need an August meeting to even things out," he said.
In the meantime, council will have a chance to look at the $10,000 incentive again later this year when it faces a final vote in the fall.