We are at a unique place in time as we work to establish the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region model of collaborative development. Leaders from government, business and industry recognize that if we are to grow our economy, provide quality of life benefits for our communities along with a plan to responsibly manage our land and water resources, we must strategically align our efforts.
Our Region’s leaders have diligently reviewed the various forms that collaborative development has taken across Canada and the globe. The most promising model that seems to be a perfect fit for the demands of our Region is decentralized coordination. This model allows communities to realize the benefits of partnership without losing their unique identity or control of their own destiny. Done correctly, each community gets the advantage of a regional perspective to enhance and support local opportunity.
To be sure, there is still a lot of work to be done before any plan can be implemented. However, the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region leaders have established a shared vision, gathered relevant data and analyzed the gaps in our current system. In achieving this shared vision, they have identified and agreed upon clear and concise action steps. These steps have been detailed and transparently shared in their report titled: Securing our Future: An Action Plan for Winnipeg’s Metropolitan Region. Local leaders have been actively seeking a broad base of input as this process continues to evolve.
The next logical step for the Region is to formalize this vision through the development of a Regional Plan, once constructed it will keep us on course. A regional plan will go a long way in increasing our competitiveness while demonstrating that we are open for business. Having a regional plan sends the signal to our partners in the private sector – the developers who build our communities and the business and industry partners who provide good jobs and support our quality of life – that we are organized, know what direction we are headed and that their investment is understood, realized and protected.
Getting this right is important. With the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region driving 70% of the GDP for Manitoba and home to 68% of the population, having a long term vision and plan for where we want to go together is the next logical step in realizing our full potential. A regional plan will allow us to build on our competitive advantage and inform decision makers’ sound infrastructure investments while reducing red tape and protecting our natural resources, our abundant clean water and the productive capacity of our agriculture lands. Its an idea whose time has come.