In Manitoba, we have a long tradition of planning.
In fact, the City of Winnipeg and the current Metro Region benefit today from the insightful leadership of those who dared to dream big and plan for a prosperous future at the turn of the 20th century.
You just have to drive down one of the 10 lanes at Portage and Main to recognize how grand their vision was for the “Chicago of the North.”
Inspiring, yes. Easy? No.
This type of planning for the future takes leadership—because it’s not easy.
But as we know, it’s invaluable to the quality of life our families will have in this great province.
Growing our economy, protecting our environment, and building vibrant communities doesn’t just happen—it requires strong leadership, a shared vision, some give and take, and good old-fashioned teamwork.
As Executive Director for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, I am proud to share a bit of the journey of Plan20-50 —the first regional land use and servicing plan for the Winnipeg Metro Region—and the teamwork that has gotten us to where we are today. Today’s post will give you a bit of an update on the draft plan and the process.
Successful regions across North America share two things in common: they have a long-term vision, and they plan for the future. The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region is one of the last jurisdictions in Canada to create a regional plan that will allow us to look beyond election terms and across boundaries to meet the challenges and opportunities of our future head on.
Plan20-50 is a long-term regional land use and servicing plan—the first regional plan for our metro region—that will guide development and servicing in the capital region for the next 30 years, and it has been a long time coming.
One of the first leaders to challenge the status quo and champion a regional vision was former City of Winnipeg Mayor Susan Thompson in 1998. Mayor Thompson ushered leaders from neighbouring communities to the table, formalizing a commitment to work across jurisdictions for the betterment of the region. This early regional collaboration was the precursor to today’s Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.
Thompson knew that the plans she inherited for governing and growing Winnipeg during her time as mayor were constructed by leaders at least a decade before she came into office. As a result, she planted the seed for a 25-year plan and began gathering like-minded leaders from neighboring communities. Today, 20 years later, her vision will come to life with Plan20-50.
Since 1998, the leaders from the 18 municipalities that make up the WMR Board have continued to collaborate. Recognized for their expertise and wisdom in regional governance and land use planning, they were tasked by the Province of Manitoba in 2019 to coordinate the first draft Plan20-50. To assist them, the leaders engaged a team of experts from across Canada and gave them a clear mandate to ensure Plan20-50 will:
- Account for long-term supply of serviced residential, commercial, and industrial land;
- Direct, prioritize, and facilitate investment in infrastructure;
- Provide confidence for investment;
- Ensure the protection of agricultural land, natural land, and freshwater resources;
- Build resilience to flooding and drought and the effects of a changing climate;
- Ensure service delivery to residents and businesses is effective and efficient into the future.
The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR) held a series of information sessions on Draft Plan20-50 with over 800 individuals and organizations—creating over 1,000 touchpoints—from government, business, industry, organizations, NGOs, and environmental interests who helped inform what our region and province will look like in 2050.
Getting to the first draft of the plan has not been easy, and no plan is ever perfect. We have taken a balanced approach to addressing the needs and meeting the key components necessary for a regional plan.
We will continue to address the unpredictable challenges that arise, and we hope to answer any questions that Manitobans may have.
Plan20-50 is a call to leadership. It will leave a legacy for the leaders of today and give our children the opportunity to be successful here in the future.
Learn more and sign up to receive a notice when the draft of Plan20-50 is released at: 20to50.ca