The MHCA has joined a call from the development sector for the City of Winnipeg to be strategic in the planning of its infrastructure investment and execution, in order to sustain economic growth and prosperity.
MHCA President Chris Lorenc told a meeting of the association’s Executive Committee October 27 that he sent letters to the political offices at both the city and provincial levels, calling attention to the need for a strategic infrastructure plan. The letters were prompted by commentary that appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press October 22, by Lanny McInnes, president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association and managing director of the Urban Development Institute of Manitoba.
“The rational applies to all cities, and by extension to a parallel and complementary provincial strategy,” Lorenc said.
Such a plan should set out goals and objectives, identifying where growth can occur and the appropriate levels of infrastructure to support it, and also identify sources of City and external funding.
The MHCA emailed letters to Premier Kelvin Goertzen, some ministers and deputy ministers, and to all Winnipeg City Council, as well as to a long list of stakeholder organizations.
Lorenc said the message will be part of MHCA’s pre-budget meetings with Winnipeg councilors.
Those meetings have begun, with Lorenc and MHCA Vice Chair Dennis Cruise speaking to councilors about the need to focus on the city’s economic recovery, ensuring that infrastructure investment’s verified return to GDP is leveraged as a means of immediate and long-term revenue generation.
Further, MHCA is cautioning EPC, in its budget working group, to look at what happens to the local and regional streets renewal program in 2023 and beyond. In 2023, the accelerated regional streets agreement, which saw $100-million contributions over four years from each of the federal and provincial governments, ends and the forecasted budgets for regional roads show steep cuts.
The city draft 2022 budget is expected to be public late November or early December.
Other matters discussed by the Executive Committee included:
- The provincial Conservation department sent MHCA notice it has created an internal working group with multi-departmental representation to analyze work done in other jurisdictions on construction, renovation and demolition waste recycling. The intent is to explore opportunities for recycling CRD in Manitoba
- The MHCA’s website homepage now holds a land acknowledgment. It reads MHCA is located on Treaty One land and the homeland of the Metis Nation.
- A joint letter from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Winnipeg Construction Association and the MHCA was sent to the City of Winnipeg’s Chair of the Social Procurement Working Group, cautioning against presenting a final ‘staff report’ on such a policy, including a framework and action plan, for City Council without meaningful consultation and input from the sectors on the working group.
- Saskatchewan has adopted prompt payment legislation, which will come into effect March 1, 2022, after which contracts will provide contractors the right to expect payment within 28 days of filing an invoice. MHCA is reaching out to other associations to see if discussions toward such legislation will be resurrected in Manitoba.
- As of November 15, 2021, a federal vaccination mandate will require anyone working on a federal construction site to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This does not apply to federally funded projects in contracts with provincial, municipal or third-party authorities.
- Amendments to the WCB Act have created the Prevention Advisory Council, replacing the current committee. The new council is to advise the WCB Board on workplace safety and health strategies to prevent injuries. The process for choosing a Chair of the Council is still under discussion.