Winnipeg mayor, councillors propose plan to tackle vacant, derelict building issues

The City of Winnipeg is taking a new approach to tackling issues around vacant and derelict buildings.

At a press conference in front of a boarded-up Furby Street apartment building Tuesday morning, mayor Scott Gillingham, joined by three memebrs of the city’s property and development committee, said new initiatives have been proposed to increase enforcement and incentivize property owners to comply.

“In the spirit of making Winnipeg a safer, more vibrant city, we’re announcing this renewed focus on addressing the challenges posed by vacant buildings,” Gillingham said.

“Our strategies are targeted and multifaceted, designed to promote active maintenance, security, and eventual occupancy.”

Fires at vacant and derelict buildings have been an ongoing problem in Winnipeg. Gillingham said a pair of reports will be reviewed by the committee next week, and offer recommendations on enhanced boarding and security standards, increased inspection and enforcement, and community engagement.

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Click to play video: 'Vacant buildings continue to spell trouble for Winnipeg'

Vacant buildings continue to spell trouble for Winnipeg

The reports also suggest streamlining the process of demolishing derelict buildings, by amending the city’s Development Procedures by-law to fast-track demolition of problematic buildings.

“Streamlining the demolition permit process for derelict residential buildings is a necessary step,” said Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry).

“(It will) expedite improvements to our urban landscape, prevent prolonged vacancies, and contribute to the quality of life in our communities.”

The city said Tuesday that it stands out as one of the few major centres without a by-law and enforcement unit dedicated to vacant buildings. The standing policy committee on property and development meets June 1.

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