The city of Winnipeg is struggling to get the right people in the right places to help tackle a city plagued by blight.
The province announced Wednesday it will spend $3.4 million to buy and renovate the old Manitoba Place, which opened in 1905 as a city hall building, as part of the Urban Renewal Strategy.
The city hopes to reopen the building in the 2020s.
The provincial government said $1.6 million of the money will go towards improving the building’s façade, while the remaining $1 million will go to the Urban Restoration Strategy, which will help plan, implement and assess projects for urban renewal in Winnipeg.
“We’re trying to get people on the ground in the cities where they are most likely to be impacted,” said John Kapp, the city’s director of urban planning.
“The Urban Restoration Plan will focus on addressing some of the issues that we have identified as a potential problem and will include the renovation of the Manitoba Place.”
The plan is part of a broader effort by the province to invest in urban renewal projects in the province.
The government has allocated $1 billion for urban development and has earmarked another $2 billion for new housing and infrastructure.
“I think it’s going to be a major challenge for us to get into the planning process, to get those people to come forward, to start putting together the infrastructure that we need, and to get them engaged in the process,” Kapp said.
“So we have to find ways to connect with people and get them involved in the planning, in the building itself, the design, the construction of the infrastructure, so we can get the project done.”
Kapp said Winnipeg is also partnering with the Canadian Urban Development Institute to create a partnership to create “a shared space to learn about urban renewal” and to help connect people to the planning.
The Winnipeg Urban Renewing Collaborative will be led by Winnipeg City Coun.
Jason Farr, and will be comprised of a group of experts who will be tasked with developing a set of urban renewal principles and recommendations for Winnipeg.
The first meeting is set for Feb. 14.