I received a question by email yesterday from a citizen of Pinawa. This person has asked me to post the question and response online so other voters can understand who is Michael King, and what does he stand for. If you too would like to ask me a question, go to my contact page. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you for being here. Enjoy the read!
Message: Would like to know your stand on the waterpark that is rumoured to be coming to town. For or against? If for, what would your strategy be to manage parking for vehicles to prevent same from encroaching into residential areas?
What would be your plan of action in attempt to attract developers to build commercial buildings for small business entrepreneurs to lease?
Regarding non-residents using boat launches and public docks at no cost to them (that Pinawa tax payers pay to maintain and operate). Would you like to see a fee implemented for non-residents to launch boats? Or do you think that would negatively impact tourism? Interested in your opinion if some of these costs should be put back on the tourist rather than all on the taxpayer.
Thank you for writing.
In order to provide a suitable environment for business development, you need a fair regulatory and approval system. The job of government is to facilitate this framework. Such a framework is a like a web with jurisdiction at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. Elected officials make the laws, and the civil service applies them. I believe in having a strong regulatory framework and legislation that protects the interests of the people and the environment first and foremost.
If you want to open a business in Winnipeg, you don’t go directly to the Mayor’s office. You call 411 for the appropriate departments. You do research on the by-laws and regulations, look for available grants, follow the necessary review processes (if applicable), and get the paperwork done. Whether you’re a big city or a small town, the principles are the same.
Pinawa needs a Tourism Development Plan that incorporates all related elements of the industry operations within the town. Recently, a study has been initiated to develop such a plan with the help of consultants from the University of Manitoba. This would of course include areas around the channel, the suspension bridge, golf course, beach, marina, parks, campgrounds, parking lots, and boat launches. A comprehensive strategy would include enhanced planning solutions for traffic, parking, and transit that is townwide in scope. The final document, which will hopefully be in it’s final draft in Q4 2021, will be compatible with the Pinawa Development Plan and Secondary Plan. The problem we have been facing thus far, is that without such a plan, decisions were being made ad-hoc.
While this Tourism Plan is in its developmental phase and during the implementation phase, I intend to ensure the protection of public assets within the plan. Many of our greatest attractions to Pinawa are not businesses at all; they are the public beach, the iconic Ironwood Park, the public docks, the postcard-ready suspension bridge, and our beautiful network of trails. These jewels of our town are for the enjoyment of all citizens. Although these resources provide recreation opportunities for visitors and guests, the cost of maintainence is borne by the town and dedicated groups of volunteers. They do not have the capacity to support the growing usage and will require additional resources. This should not be the sole responsibility of the Pinawa taxpayer or volunteer groups.
One of my priorities with the Tourism Management Plan is to develop a streamlined and efficient system of visitor based revenue capture for the town, so that residents of Pinawa see a direct benefit from visitors who use public lands, resources, and facilities. Perhaps that would include charging for use of the launch, maybe not. Charging for parking is an option, as well as a sales tax or levy on visitor activities; but again, until we have solid data and a complete plan, sometimes what seems like the solution can actually create more problems. We need a comprehensive plan, otherwise we’re just playing a game of whack-a-mole. Some of this revenue would be re-invested in supporting the infrastructure surrounding the tourism industry, but a significant portion should be earmarked for investment into our public recreation areas, parks, and trails.
You are absolutely right, there is certainly a need for more commercial space in Pinawa. In talking with members of the business community, it has been expressed that there have been some prospective businesses that were frustrated by the Council process. Such sentiment could have a chilling effect on attracting future investment. We should be wary of turning any enterprise into a political football. A prospective business should primarily be dealing with the EDO, who would direct them through the regular approval process, conforming to all existing by-laws, municipal/provincial/federal regulations, public review processes, and permits. That process should be handled by the civil service, not the politicians. In the interest of efficiency and transparency, I believe it is crucial to have clearly defined rolls and responsibilities for Council, the Resident Administrator’s Office, and the Economic Development Office.
Yes, depending on the scope of work for a new business, council may need to enter into, and oversee various agreements with LGD departments; such as an agreement to share lifeguards with the waterpark (compensated of course), or an agreement for usage of public land, resources, or utilities. However, I believe that our Economic Development Office should be the primary contact point between business and the municipality. Private/public partnerships can be considered as tools for some larger projects, but such projects must have a clear longterm financial benefit for the taxpayer and be done transparently. We currently have some startup support programs and grants which could potentially be altered or enhanced depending on analysis of their effectiveness. An efficient and effective regulatory structure will give prospective investors more confidence in Pinawa’s business environment, as well as allow the people to have more confidence that our needs are always being represented, thus building trust between industry and community.
Since you specifically asked about parking. The Zoning by-law 658-04 Article 4.21 lays out all requirements regarding parking facilities. This article also outlines defined standards of grade, location, material, and visual screening. The expectation should be that based on projections for usage of the waterpark that adequate parking will be constructed in accordance with article 4.21 including visual screening such as the planting of trees to form a natural barrier. This shall be monitored and that data will be used to inform the development study for the aforementioned Tourism Management Plan. A townwide parking strategy will form a signifcant component of this plan.
Zoning By-Law 658-04
5.5 RECREATION COMMERCIAL, NATURAL AREAS AND PARKS & OPEN SPACE ZONES
5.5.1 Intent and Purpose
RC – Recreation Commercial Zone
• To provide for public recreation areas such as water slide parks, arenas,
curling rinks and golf courses.
The town zoning by-laws essentially puts waterslide parks on the same tier as the Pinawa Club, so I do agree this proposal is a fit for Pinawa. As for approval, the expectation again, is that they check all the boxes for necessary compliance with all by-laws, public review processes (ie. Transport Canada Navigable Waterways public review), and governmental regulations. Businesses can deal with regulation, as long as it’s equitably applied, transparent, and predictable. The waterpark is going through the process, and I support that. The proposed waterpark would be used by locals too, not just tourists! I’m pretty sure all the kids in town, or grandkids of residents, are pretty excited by this idea.
In conclusion, I think the waterpark is a neat idea; my kids will probably be begging every single day and driving me crazy because of it. But my personal opinion is unimportant. A waterpark fits with the development plans for Pinawa, as long as they cross their t’s and dot their i’s, I’m all for it. I want Pinawa to prosper and for all entrepreneurs to have a fair opportunity to succeed. The government’s job is to create the regulatory framework (legislation) and ensure fair application of those laws (civil service). This is important to ensure the impartiality of government, respect for due process, and ensure a fair and transparent environment for businesses to grow in Pinawa.
As a councillor, I will always conduct myself with the highest integrity. In my heart, I truly believe in the great responsibility to my community that elected office demands. And I will work to ensure our government meets the needs of all citizens of Pinawa.