Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Upper Fort Garry
Manitoba Club and Upper Fort Garry Gate
All that remains of Upper Fort Garry
Too many calls for money, too many preservation projects that need government money, no timelines for getting projects done, too few deep pocketed donors and the constant chasing away of businesses that do want to invest.
It is no way to get things done.
Seed money can be helpful for projects as we have seen in condo development downtown and how it has leveraged a significant private investment. However, things like the Millennium Centre, Upper Fort Garry and the Human Rights Museum always seem to be fighting for viability and starved for cash.
It is particularly galling when preservation projects end up looking similar or worse than what was planned. The Millennium Centre in the CIBC building chased away Cowboys from Calgary only to become and under utilized and not so well known...banquet hall.
And now the Friends of Upper Fort Garry are turning the Fort Garry site into a parking lot for at least two years.
Have to say this is pretty discouraging. Makes you wonder if the project will even get off the ground. It might be 2015 or 2016 before shovels are in the earth. Who is to the say that some of the principle players driving this are going to still be around? Not to be morbid but the length of time for development exceeds a lifetime for some people.
A surface lot isn't doing anyone any favours in the area except maybe the Manitoba Club and the guests there for dinner.
I compare this to land that the province sat on behind Broadway not helping the area around the Convention Centre. The stubborn refusal to consider all development options for that section of land left them windswept lots. And that has lasted decades and the Convention Center was isolated.
It is hard to stay upbeat in the city when bold plans wait years and sometimes decades and what we get is a parking lot.
Not easy to say this will be for the good of the city in five or ten years when it hurts so badly now.