In 2023 we ensured that the taxpayers of Winnipeg would hear from Andrew Marquess, the businessman who beat the City in court and proved that planning department bureaucrats were unfair and corrupt. Now, in our Christmas Day special, the owner of Gem Equities returns to the podcast!
In our kick-off to Season 3, Andrew Marquess told us about the court awarding him $5 million after his fight to get Parker Lands housing approved and the illegal obstacles invented by City officials, at the behest of Coun. John Orlikow, to impede the approval process.
Next, he explained the City attempt to manipulate the Parker Lands valuations, and why a pending expropriation may put the City on the hook for another $90 million.
Then Marquess spoke about how the bad rep of City Hall was driving out developers with deep pockets, taking their housing and retail projects elsewhere.
Named our Newsmaker of the Year, Andrew Marquess updates TGCTS on the City response to his court victory and discusses, from a developer’s point of view, Council voting to change zoning regulations to access federal funding in response to the national housing shortage.
Part 1- “It’s business as usual” at 510 Main Street, says Marquess, as no heads have rolled despite the Court finding of misfeasance
by senior officials and internal warnings about the misconduct.
As for municipal red tape slowing down housing starts: “I think the positive part is the federal parties are waking up and saying, this is something that’s really important…”
“I don’t think this is a Gold Star award that Winnipeg should be proud of, when you’re featured in the federal Conservative’s ‘What went wrong in Canada’ scenarios and Winnipeg’s at the top of the class.”
“They’re saying the judge got it wrong, everyone got it wrong, everyone is wrong- but the City of Winnipeg.”
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15:15 Part 2 – We asked Marquess to respond to Winnipeg CAO Michael Jack. He had told CJOB that City planning was basically paralyzed and was appealing because the court decision undermined all their development processes.
He also spoke about immigration pushing the feds to find more solutions, the resurrection of wartime housing blueprints, and about how this might finally roll out. He’s optimistic but notes, “do they ever get it right?”
Marquess says the City has to handle the challenges and needs some leadership and visionary thinking to put additional density in new locations, ‘instead of pitting mature neighborhoods against lot-splitters.”
28:35 Part 3- We close Episode 37 by recognizing Andrew Marquess as Newsmaker of the Year and the positive impact of our interview series with him. He’s brought the issue of ethics to the forefront and shown you CAN fight City Hall !
Marty Gold ends the episode with some reflections of growing up Jewish in a Christmas-oriented Manitoba, his vivid memories of working on the holiday, and brings warm wishes to our listeners.
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Coming up: A City Councilor recaps 2023 and looks at the future of housing regulation.
^ MERRY CHRISTMAS ^