Downtown Winnipeg BIZ 2017-2019 Strategic Plan Unveiled


DECEMBER 6, 2016


Winnipeg, Manitoba – Providing more assistance for Winnipeg’s most vulnerable population, maintaining a safe and secure downtown with an emphasis on night time safety, creating new events to host guests both locally and internationally, and identifying opportunities to create “sticky” (beautiful spaces that cause people to slow down and enjoy) are what Winnipeggers can look forward to most in the coming year.

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ 2017-2019 Strategic Plan was unveiled to 200 Members, partners and stakeholders, including Mayor Brian Bowman, at its 28th Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, November 19, 2016.

“An increasing density of people living, working and learning downtown is creating new shops, services and food and drink establishments, changing perceptions, and repositioning our downtown as a special place that all of Winnipeg is beginning to enjoy and understand,” Grande proudly reported. “The magnitude of new events is tremendous,” he added, “and our downtown today has a social lens that did not exist a decade ago.”

That emerging social lens is one of the key components in the BIZ’s new eight point strategic plan, an all-encompassing scheme designed to help the BIZ further enhance the downtown, empower its stakeholders, encourage social and economic growth,  and make the neighbourhood  cleaner,  safer and more entertaining, accessible and inclusive. Here is a brief look at that strategic plan’s eight overlapping points and their corresponding actions plans.

1. Voice of the Downtown – The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ will speak out about the area’s unique issues and opportunities via public proposals, public awareness campaigns and the media. It will continue to advocate for effective harm reduction strategies and an end to homelessness. The BIZ will continue to recommend the reopening of Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic and will reiterate its intent to recruit a grocery store to the neighbourhood. Together the Exchange District BIZ, West End BIZ and Downtown Winnipeg BIZ will play host to over 1,000 delegates during the 2017 International Downtown Association Conference in September.

2. Managing Downtown Safety – Sixty percent of the Downtown Watch Team is dedicated to serving in the evenings, providing an additional safety presence to all guests, residents and employees of the downtown. The BIZ will continue to advocate for increased police foot patrols and a police presence at major events and looks forward to the release of the Winnipeg Police Service Safety Plan this month.

3. Social Intervention – Continuing forward, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ will implement a comprehensive community-based approach to address social issues related to and resulting from poverty, mental illness and homelessness. It will advocate for fundamental changes to the systems that created these  phenomena, promote a new harms reduction strategy, build on the success of the Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT), partner with End Homelessness Inc., and nurture partnerships with other progressive initiatives and social service agencies. The Annual CEO Sleepout will take place in early 2017 and it is expected that this year’s event will surpass the $1 million dollar fundraising total.

4. Creating Places that People Love – Transforming “slippery spaces” into “sticky” ones through Placemaking is a priority for the BIZ. Cross-seasonal displays, parkettes, back lane public art installations and eye-catching storefront and interior designs are all planned for 2017 to achieve more irresistible, loveable, charming, beautiful, cross seasonal, activated, safe, accessible and connected places where people come together and stick. The BIZ is organizing a Summit, a placemaking round table event in early 2017 with designers, community leaders and downtown property owners and stakeholders to discuss opportunities and challenges with downtown placemaking, and identify ways to can move forward collaboratively to significantly increase placemaking activities in the downtown.

5. Activate – Recognizing that fun and accessible activities are key to the downtown’s success, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ will continue to offer successful events like Fitness in the Park and the Farmers’ Markets, while creating new programming with an emphasis on the evenings and winter. The successful Host It funding opportunity will attract more events to the downtown and plans are underway to support the 2017 Canada Summer Games and Canada 150.

6. Celebrate and Share – Determined to share the downtown’s many achievements and opportunities with the rest of the city, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ will develop creative marketing partnerships, enhance its social media presence, partner with area venues to create a monthly events calendar, recruit, mentor and profile new businesses, and continue to promote Downtown Peggy as the city’s most informed and effective city centre booster.

7. Indigenize Downtown – The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is committed to enhancing awareness of and celebrating Indigenous culture and contributions to the community. It will infuse Indigenous music and art into downtown festivals and concerts, consider the creation of an Aboriginal Artisans Market, and actively promote emerging Aboriginal businesses.

8. Connect – The BIZ will connect downtowners one to another and to the rest of the city by improving wayfinding, promoting its cycling network and working with the Winnipeg Parking Authority to enhance and better explain downtown parking. It will encourage the use of its widely distributed Getting Around Guide as a means of promoting the availability, accessibility, sustainability and convenience of transit services, including the Downtown Spirit, and all downtown transportation options.

Taken together, these eight strategies will ensure the BIZ’s continued success in revitalizing and rebranding Winnipeg’s downtown as a vibrant and healthy locale that places the highest priority on quality of life for everyone.

Download the BIZ’s 2016 Annual Report and 2017-2019 Strategic Plan here.

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For more information, please contact:

Tineke de Jong
Director of Marketing, Events and Communications
Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
Tel: 204-958-4635