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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Waterbombing us with Priorities

Last week, Doer floated his Macy's Thanksgiving Parade-size trial balloon about turning Point Douglas into a park which, in some circles, rehashed the issue of senior levels of government jumping the queue to set priorities for the city, regardless of what her own elected officials have set out.


Last year, of course, the issue was Upper Fort Garry that went to the top of the charts with a bullet almost overnight.

I just noticed what could be a smaller version of that in yesterday's provincial press releases.

The first one was $1.1m for Gateway Rec Centre's new roof:

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, PROVINCE OF MANITOBA AND THE CITY OF WINNIPEG INVEST IN WINNIPEG'S RECREATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Today, Premier Gary Doer on behalf of the Province of Manitoba; Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification; and Jeff Browaty on behalf of the City of Winnipeg, announced funding for renovations that will create jobs in Winnipeg.

Total cost of the project is $1,108,584. Federal funding of $365,833 is provided through the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC)program under Canada’s Economic Action Plan with the Province of Manitoba providing a matching contribution The City of Winnipeg is also contributing $208,584 towards the project.

Seems fairly straightforward, (though how an arena roof is an example of Western Economic Diversification, I'm not sure - but that's a whole other post).

The second release is also on the rec theme - see if you can find what's missing:

FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS INVEST IN WINNIPEG'S RECREATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Today, Premier Gary Doer on behalf of the Province of Manitoba and Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification announced funding for renovations that will create jobs in Winnipeg.

The total cost of the project is $568,000. Federal funding of $212,000 is provided through the Recreational Infrastructure Canada program under Canada’s Economic Action Plan.The Province of Manitoba is contributing $50,000.

I found it odd that the feds (overwhelmingly) and the prov are coughing up for new turf but not the city ? I checked the news coverage: CTV ran the press release verbatim; The Sun had two sentences of coverage. No one wondered why the city isn't pitching in.

I bring this up not because I'm dissing youth rec - it should be a priority. There could be a simple explanation about precedence setting or "you fund this, we'll fund that later in the year". Still, given that recreation has been a political hot potato recently: from the 2004 PUFS Report to the 2005 diversion of $43m in Rapid Transit, I'd have thunk that the city would be on board which should garner at least honourbale mention in the release.
Something simple or another case of senior governments flying over the city and waterbombing us with their own priorities for something that the city should have a finger in ?

Though how new turf for a football pitch is an example of Western Economic Diversification, I'm not sure - but that's a whole other post ...

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