Winnipeg committee moves money from $10K incentive plan

A Winnipeg council committee has decided on what to do with money from an incentive program, now nixed, that would have given $10,000 to people buying condominiums in the Exchange or Waterfront districts.
The city's downtown development committee decided on Monday to spend $2.4 million that was intended for Exchange District condo buyers on improvements to the area. (

A Winnipeg city committee has decided what to do with money from an incentive program, now nixed, that would have given $10,000 to people buying condominiums in the Exchange or Waterfront districts.

Members of the downtown development committee voted on Monday morning to redirect $2.4 million from the condo subsidy towards beautifying the area and improving safety.

The subsidy plan, which was passed by council last year, called for a "forgivable loan" that would not have to be repaid if people stayed for at least five years in their new condos.

But some councillors later changed their minds, citing public backlash in response to the incentives.

"I think the condo incentive thing was the wrong way to go — to reward people. And it looked like a subsidy to developers who maybe hadn't judged the market correctly," Coun. Brian Mayes said Monday.

"But if you strip it out of that, then I think it could be money well spent to enhance a new neighbourhood."

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said the redirected money will be a good investment in a part of the city that needs work.

"There's got to be an environment that people want to live in. That will make it more attractive and more people purchasing and moving in and development happening," she said.

The money will go towards adding safety measures, streetscaping and developing parking in the area, she said.

"Right now if you walk in the Waterfront area, there's big patches where you have sidewalks heaving and it's kind of dark and dingy and very industrial," she said.

Gerbasi said the public will find it easier to support a broad initiative revitalizing a neighbourhood, rather than rewarding individuals who want to buy condominiums there.