Organizations like ours have often complained about the City of Winnipeg having a lack of focus or direction or a strong implementation plan to carry out a well-defined set of priorities. Hopefully, this budget consultation process will lead to a clear set of priorities for the Mayor and City Council to take Winnipeg over the next few years. The alternative of drifting in a sea of change without a rudder is not a pleasant thought.
As a representative of the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, I want to commend the Manitoba Government for taking the initiative to draft a discussion paper and hold public meetings on the protection of personal information in the private sector.
In April 1999 the Winnipeg Real Estate Board established a task force to look at the issue of mixed-use development in the downtown with the aim to encourage more residential activity and intensification. When this effort was brought to the attention of Mayor Glen Murray, he encouraged the involvement of the City of Winnipeg and had David Schoor from his office work on the task force. From that point, a number of other key civic officials were contacted and they all agreed to participate.
As REALTORS, we are at the front-line of property owners’ concerns be they residential, business or investment ones. This is no more apparent than when an out-of-towner comes to Winnipeg with a fresh pair of eyes and starts asking questions on not only housing availability and prices but also on desirable neighbourhoods and the attributes associated with them including schooling, public safety, proximity to work and property taxes.
The first item the Board wishes to bring forward here is one our national association has been spearheading over the last four years. It speaks directly to the consumer's right to prepay a mortgage and a standardized penalty that's fair to both the lender and borrower. The Association has consulted widely with government and other stakeholders in efforts to strengthen disclosure of prepayment terms and conditions for mortgages of five years or less.
No better example of this is when Moody's paid a visit to Winnipeg last year from New York to meet with not only civic officials but other key members of the community who could apprise them of Winnipeg's economic health.