Community Feedback Identifies Top Priorities for Downtown BIZ


NOVEMBER 2, 2016


Downtown Winnipeg – The downtowners have spoken!

After months of public engagement with people who live, work, play and party in downtown Winnipeg, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ knows exactly what stakeholders want, love and envision for their neighbourhood.

Inspired by this knowledge, the Downtown BIZ has identified 10 priorities for ‘taking downtown Winnipeg from good to great.’ These priorities focus on making the downtown more accessible, active, inclusive, connected, beautiful and safer.

“The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s vision for the next three years is to get our downtown to go from good to great, and the Downtown BIZ has an important role to play, from our programs, to our research and advocacy efforts,” says Stefano Grande, CEO of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “We will now take these priority areas and have them inform our departments and programs, as we prepare for the development now of our 2017-2019 Strategic Plan.”

Established in 1989 by the City of Winnipeg, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is the oldest of Winnipeg’s 16 business improvement zones and represents over 1,300 businesses. With more than 16,446 people living downtown, 69,000 office workers coming downtown each weekday, and over 24,000 students learning at 22 downtown universities and technical schools, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has a unique perspective and a vested interest in the well-being of our community.

The Downtown Biz’s public engagement process, a key component of its three year strategic plan, took place from June to September 2016 via survey, speed meetings, coffee talks and consultations. More than 2,000 people participated in the process.

Here’s a glance at what they had to say:

  1. Downtown Winnipeg is a special neighbourhood, replete with optimism, innovation and excitement.
  2. It is a destination neighbourhood in which new opportunities are constantly arising and challenges are being tackled and met with confidence and creativity.
  3. Downtowners love the area’s festivals, food trucks, farmers’ market, movie nights and pop ups.
  4. They appreciate the placemaking activities, the beautifying of the area’s public places, and the efforts made to preserve the neighbourhood’s heritage and character.
  5. Downtowners care about the environment and are intent on walking and cycling to their destinations.
  6. They want more bike paths and bike racks, more navigable sidewalks, better night time lighting, and a better defined parking strategy.
  7. Downtowners feel safe.
  8. At the same time they recognize the need for ongoing vigilance and crime reduction initiatives, but emphasize the need for the Community to address homelessness and Harms related to substance abuse.
  9. Downtowners support reconciliation with the Indigenous community and are eager to gain a greater appreciation for Indigenous culture and history. They embrace diversity, and are adamant about giving agency to those affected by homelessness and addiction, while also supporting social welfare initiatives like CHAT.
  10. Downtowners see how strategic investment and collaborative partnerships have changed the look and feel of their neighbourhood.
  11. They appreciate the Downtown BIZ’s leadership and commitment to the area’s social and economic growth, and know that while they are happily living, working, playing and visiting downtown, the Downtown Biz is making their neighbourhood even greater.

We are happy to learn that the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and its members are adding value and making a difference in our downtown today, while continuing to have important conversations about our downtown tomorrow.

“The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is committed to explore, evolve, and change to address the top priorities established by our community,” says Debbie O Bray, Chair of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.  “The approach of forming collaborative partnerships, aligning priorities, and leveraging resources continues to be some of the core values which will take Downtown Winnipeg from good to great!”

To learn more about the Downtown Biz’s community engagement findings, its top 10 priorities, and plans for putting ideas into action, see:

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For more information, please contact:

Tineke de Jong
Director of Marketing, Events and Communications
Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
Tel: 204-958-4640