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October 31, 2019

For the Benefit of All Report Released

Economic development Plan20-50
October 31, 2019 – A three-point plan to economic growth in the Winnipeg METRO Region (METRO) was detailed today following the release of a new report entitled: For the Benefit of All: Regional Competitiveness & Collaboration in the Winnipeg METRO Region. 

The Report, authored by Robert W. Murray, Ph.D., Managing Director – Government Affairs and Public Policy at Dentons Canada LLP, provides an analysis of the current context and offers a starting place to move from debating regionalism to enacting steps necessary to increase economic investment in Manitoba.
“Despite efforts of greater regional collaboration, the ongoing hesitancy relating to further collaboration and the fragmented planning processes among Metro Region municipalities is not only putting the region at risk in areas such as sustainable water supply and future prime agricultural land protection but is also hindering the Region’s ability to pursue economic opportunities vital to the Region’s growth,” Murray stated in the Report.

He added, “Put simply – the status quo is unsustainable and needs to be fixed.” 

In March 2019, the Province of Manitoba mandated the METRO Region to coordinate economic development, reduce red tape and duplication, and develop a strategy to coordinate land use and servicing – an approach preferred by Murray to address challenges and capitalize on the potential immediate opportunities.

“The time for action is now,” said the report, “and the way forward is clear if the METRO Region is to create the conditions for future economic success.”

Step 1 – Develop a Culture of Regional Collaboration

Highlights of recommended action steps include:
  • Create a provincial Working Group to examine governance structures, policies, legislation and frameworks, and consult with task forces to provide input in regional land use planning and infrastructure, shared servicing, economic development, urban reserves and revenue sharing.

Step 2 - Build a Foundation for Economic Success

Highlights of recommended action steps include:
  • Develop a regional land use and servicing plan, developed by WMR and partners, to be submitted to the Minister of Municipal Relations;
  • Establish an Indigenous Advisory Council comprised of representatives to assist in all regional decisions;
  • Create a single regional planning authority for the Region, appointed by the Province;
  • Develop a regional asset inventory of land and its development readiness, services and infrastructure;
  • Develop an accessible, shared, single-window regional database to assist development and investment;
  • Develop criteria for prioritizing regional infrastructure projects for the Province, to assist in prioritizing regional funding and develop a process to streamline regulatory approvals;
  • Explore the creation of a regional database on planning and permitting.

Step 3 – Develop an Investor-Ready Climate

Highlights of recommended action steps include:
  • Develop and unite behind a single brand to increase overall economic competitiveness;
  • Develop a regional Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) attraction and export promotion plan and a talent attraction initiative, including the development of tools and incentives to increase investment;
  • Commission an independent global competitiveness review;
  • Develop a permanent business and industry partnership council of WMR and industry representatives;
  • Collaborate to develop a regional innovation strategy to accelerate commercialization and integrate regional business and innovation opportunities into the global supply chain.

“By developing regional systems around land use planning and infrastructure, shared servicing, and regional economic development, the region stands to benefit from proven approaches to increasing service levels to residents while becoming more globally economic competitive.”

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