What’s in the future? According to the input given from attendees at the Southwest Planning District Development Plan Update open house on October 16 in Deloraine, there are common concerns and hopes in every district. Comprised of Council members from the Town of Melita and Municipalities of Two Borders, Brenda-Waskada and Deloraine-Winchester the planning board obtained the services of SBC and Richard+Wintrup to initiate a planning process to update the Southwest Planning District Development Plan. The Development Plan is basically a policy document to regulate land use and manage urban and rural development. This update is mandated by the Provincial Planning Act.
Planning Consultants Michelle Richard and Taras Sokolyk of SBC and Richard+Wintrup facilitated the open house and were on-hand from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. to encourage feedback and answer questions. Display boards were set up at several stations, each with questions and space to place answers on sticky notes. The feedback is crucial for the planning consultants to better understand the needs, concerns and hopes of all the communities involved.
For example at the “Your Vision For The District” display the following questions were posed: What does your community look like in 20 years? What’s the same? What’s different? What makes your children and grandchildren stay here? Another display asked attendees to put a sticker on their top three concerns from a list, including such concerns as: infrastructure, healthcare, senior housing, water, employment, shared regional services, retail and so on.
“We have conducted several of these open houses and we found a lot of common concerns and hopes in each community,” said Sokeylk.
A District Fact Sheet was available to study with the following highlights: (the District includes Deloraine-Winchester, Brenda-Waskada, Town of Melita and Two Borders)
• Population Growth – in 2014 there was a District total of 4559 and in 2018 it was 4423
One of the challenges for both urban and rural areas in Manitoba is an aging population and how to accommodate this demographic. This will include housing strategies and health concerns.
• The housing analysis found most housing types in the District are single-family with some mobile dwellings and smaller apartment buildings.
A graph depicting ages of population shows the highest numbers are baby-boomers
In the top 12 industries, it was no surprise to see agriculture as the number 1 industry by a landslide. The next industries in order were: 2. Transport truck drivers, 3. General farm workers, 4. Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates, 5. Accommodation Service Managers, 6. Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Assistants, 7. Retail Salespersons, 8. Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Support Occupations, 9. Store Shelf Stockers, Clerks and Order Fillers, 10. Retail Sales Supervisors, 11. General Office Support Workers, 12. Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers.
In regards to farms – the average farm size in Manitoba has increased and the number of farms has decreased – the probable result is less agricultural opportunities.
The planning consultants will be conducting another round of engagement sessions that will include a summary of the first Open Houses, as well as a summary of the background information they are curating for the region. This event will likely happen in the new year. Check out the website which has been created for this process: https://swplanningdistrict.wixsite.com/mysite. You will find information about the process and links to the materials from the event and an online version of the survey.