Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Winnipeg at 1,000,000 - With 300,000 More People

In 20 years time, Winnipeg is expected to hit the one million mark in terms of population in the metropolitan area. The CBC is conducting a forum to determine what the city might look like with an additional 300,000 people.

First, let be said that the population growth is a projection and not a fact. However, given historical growth in the city's population, it is a safe bet to say Winnipeg will one day be a million people. It might happen earlier and it might happen later but it is going to happen.

Our population will grow through migration, immigration and birth rate. There are just under 400 cities in the world with over 1 million people. It helps to look at how they developed.

In almost all cases, the cities infrastructure grew higher, denser but also more spread out, especially in North America. It is only natural obstacles that limit the spread. In Toronto's case, Lake Ontario prevents further growth south. In Vancouver's case, it is ocean and mountains.

There are no natural boundaries for Winnipeg. Rivers are easily crossed. We only have man-made obstacle to population growth. The Winnipeg International Airport can be regarded as the only obstacle for population growth in the northwest quadrant of the city. This is unlikely to change.

The massive construction of Centreport Canada in the same area will keep the area industrial and transport related for decades to come.

So in point form, I will indicate what I believe will be what we see in 20 years.

* Immigration will continue to help shape Winnipeg's future. The provincial program will help channel people in at about 10,000 a year. A few world crisis will contribute refugees to Winnipeg. Those events will range from disaster to economics to politics to conflict. The Philippines, China and India will contribute large numbers. However, Winnipeg universities will tap into the UK and start bringing increasing numbers of students in who will eventually stay. Germany and Russia will supply steady numbers. Africa will be source of a steady number. The biggest surprise will be the ever increasing numbers of Hispanic people from Mexico to Central and South America.

* Migration will affect Winnipeg when population grows older. People living in rural areas who have health problems involving heavier use of medical community will look to Winnipeg. Downsizing from larger houses in the countryside requiring care in winter as snowbirds take to southern climates will result in more people buying condos and houses in Winnipeg. Exurbia will be less desireable all around if house size becomes unwieldy of if too far from vital services.

First Nations will see more of their people move to Winnipeg for school, jobs opportunities or to be with other family members.

Rural Manitoba will see larger farms and fewer people needed. Migration to Winnipeg will increase as a result.

* More First Nations urban economic zones will open. They won't look very different from other retail centers or residential. The Kapyong Barracks will not end up in First Nations or Metis hands. They won't be noted for housing a growing aboriginal population.

* Birth rate: The proportion births to First Nation and Metis will continue to be high. However, some of the more religious communities in the city from Africa or Asian will also have higher birth rates. Better government supports in the forms of school daycare, parental leave will result in a mini baby boom all around.

* More First Nations women will get higher education than First Nations men over the next 20 years. The first of the higher educated and higher paid women will start moving to various neighbourhoods away from the North End. Unlike other ethnic groups, they don't congregate in certain wealthier areas but all over.

* Pembina Highway will be the home of the Chinese business and cultural community. Fort Richmond will see a mall converted to the largest Asian food store and several Asian retailers.

* South Pointe will continue to see many East Indian families move into the area. A transformation of some of the retail to serve that market will take place in the Bridgwater commercial area. There will also be a southward migration of East Indian families from north the south of the city but it will be mitigated by immigration from India and surrounding areas.

* The downtown around Central Park becomes the epi-centre for much of the growing African community. The result is more shops and restaurants.

* The Exchange District sees more of a South American flavour take hold at least restaurant-wise.

* The tallest building in the downtown of the city will be around 60 stories and a mixed use residential, office and retail building. It will be accompanied by around four or five similar sized buildings downtown mostly of the same make-up. The skyline will be filled with several 20 floor stucture, mostly housing.

* Density in buildings down Portage Avenue, Main Street, Kenaston, Pembina Highway, Henderson Highway and McPhillips will increase.

* The 500 buses in the Winnipeg Transit fleet in 2013 will re-deployed as more Light Rail Transit is put into place. Eventually, a new tri-government strategy  will connect downtown to the University of Manitoba wilth LRT. Several denser neighbourhoods will result in Fort Rouge Yards and the Parker Lands.

* Other legs of LRT will develop. The most successful being the downtown to Polo Park and Airport, the Main Street LRT and the last to built LRT to St. Boniface.

* The St. James Bridge will be re-done as two spans in one of the most beautiful bridge designs in North America after an open competition world-wide that asks to incorporate gateways to Academy Road, Wellington Crescent and Kenaston. It will serve as a beautification gateway to the airport and Polo Park down Route 90. Included will be pedestrian and bike paths, amazing lighting and gorgeous features.

* More bike paths will be constructed along their own dedicated routes often using old rail tracks. New city rules will push for sidewalks in every new neighbourhood and connectivity to other parts of the city in 20 years.

* More pedestrian and running trails in the city.

* Crime in Winnipeg will decline in some areas with reductions in fetal alcohol. However, some areas will continue to struggle. The Winnipeg Foundation along with a tri-government initiative called the North End X Team (NEXT 2030) will expand community enhancement using police, schools, housing, business development and recreation to break cycles leading to crime and poverty.

* The Public Safety Building will be converted into an urgent care center with 24 pharmacy, X-ray, blood testing, kidney center and new home to the Mount Carmel Clinic who will keep the old location as a satellite for family medicine. A new 1000 car civic parkade will be built as with offices attaches for The Parking Authority and the Police Cadets.

* Winnipeg's airport will continue to rise as a cargo hub but more direct flights will occur to a rise in fuel efficient smaller jet aircraft. Porter Airlines will fly Winnipeggers directly to Toronto Island Airport. Direct flights to cities like Los Angeles will enable more Hollywood filming to take place in Winnipeg.

* Oil fracking in western Manitoba will benefit Winnipeg manufacturing and services who expand to help provide service to a booming North Dakota and Saskatchewan.

* Polo Park will add a third floor to the mall and build a parking deck and a hotel atop on the west side. Sears will have long closed for a Nordstrom. Food court would move to the third floor. Silver City will close as the theatres move into the mall to make way for the new parking deck.

* St. Vital will expand to two floors with parking decks added on all four sides. Sears will have long closed in favour of Sak's Fifth Avenue store, one of seven in Canada.

* Portage Place mall will close in favour of offices, some casual dining restaurants and residential units. The parkade will be sold in exchange for two two towers built on on eat and west pads.

*City Place will see the Shark Club become a full sports casino taking over the entire second floor. The ground floor will be a mix of retail and restuarants.

* The richest neighbourhood in Winnipeg will be Wilkes South from McCreary to the Perimeter Highway. It will feature Winnipeg's first gated community and country club.

* The older but hot neighbourhoods will be Sherbrook and points east, St. James from Polo Park heading west. All the streets between Osborne Village and Corydon, Point Douglas, old Transcona, old Fort Garry, McPhillips, Riverview and Charleswood. Affordability will play a strong role in rejuvenation.

* The poorest neighbourhood will still be north of the CPR tracks.

*Some neighbourhoods close to the river from Main eastward will start a rejuvenation. Waterfront development will push out old industrial concerns. Metal scrapyard, gypsum plants and others will head out to Brookside/Route 90 as a designated choice for re-location. Point Douglas will see condos and apartments go up along the river in old industry areas.

* The goal of a river walk will proceed very slowly northward in the next 20 years and very slowly southward.

* The Manitoba Museum will expand north of Rupert, building a new science museum with underground connection to main building complex.

* The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Pantages will share a parkade and development between their two buildings.

* The Winnipeg Jets, Bombers and Goldeyes will be joined by a professional soccer team, lacrosse team and Western Hockey League franchise over the next 20 years.

* Education in Winnipeg will have full time nursery and Kindergarten programs in its three school divisions, two English and one French. It will help spur a bit of a baby boom and parents feel more supported in childhood development.

* The University of Manitoba at 30,000 in 2013 is very likely to be around 5000 students larger in keeping with cities of similar size. In 2033, it will be 35,000 students.

* The University of Winnipeg at 10,000 in 2013 is likely to be around 13,000 in 2033.

* Red River College will around 8000 students in 2013 will explode to 15,000 at any given time and over 50,000 in a year through various programming.

* Universite de Saint-Boniface which has 1300 student now will have 3000 students in 2033 and be the largest French university in the west.

* Canadian Mennonite University at 1800 students now will be the 5000 student in 20 year and the largest Mennonite university in the world. They will buy the Tuxedo Golf Course for further expansion and build a large fieldhouse and sports complex as well as additonal classroom, dorm and a school of music.

* Headingley and Rosser will be absorbed into the city.

I will keep adding to this over the next days.


Anonymous said...

There already IS a million people in and around Winnipeg. If you count all the bedroom communities (Oakbank, Lockport, etc), all the illegal immigrants, as well as all the people that do not vote or contribute to censuses. We've been around a million for a while now.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Where can i find more information on Wilkes South area which will be built?


Evan said...

Interesting post. That being said, I find some of your predictions a bit lofty considering the progress that Winnipeg's made over the last 20 years. Now obviously the lack of construction during the '90s can be attributed to economic struggle not only in Winnipeg, but considering that our city's tallest building was constructed in the early '90s and we haven't had a private office tower built since then, I'm going to take your observations with a grain of salt. Obviously I'm hoping that the Fortress project eventually goes through along with other proposals for mixed use projects downtown, but nothing's set in stone until they break ground.

In regards to LRT, I'm not even sure that we'll see it over the next 20 years. While I suspect Katz will be out in the 2014 election, who knows where his opponents will stand on the issue, and how willing they'll be to invest in an LRT system after the city's invested hundreds of millions into BRT. And doubts are high that they'd be able to stay on time or on budget. My suspicion is that Winnipeg will take 20 years just to study whether we actually need LRT, but here's hoping that they'll take a cue out of Edmonton's book and get one in sometime soon and build a decent infrastructure before the city sprawls out too much. LRT will also help with the density problem that Winnipeg's been plagued with as have many other NA cities, and lighten up congestion on our roadways.

I do think we'll see an expansion in walkways, bike paths, and a bigger push for dense development downtown over these next few years (assuming that we get Katz out soon), but given Winnipeg's history I honestly can't see our city changing as much as you predict. In regards to demographics changing, I think that's spot on.