Reducing Winnipeg’s costly permit times is mayoral candidate Motkaluk’s top priority


A mayoral candidate wants to cut the time it takes for the City of Winnipeg to issue business permits.

Unnecessary delays at the permit office are hurting local businesses and costing the city millions of dollars in lost revenue, Jenny Motkaluk said during a campaign stop Thursday.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue for the city itself are lost every day due to the inefficiency of the permit office,” she said.

“If I have to, I’ll burn this thing down and start over, because it’s the biggest obstacle to growth and success in this town.”

Motkaluk made the announcement outside the Perogy Planet store on Main Street, alongside owner Rob Naleway, who said it took him about a month and a half to get a permit to build a wall inside the one of its locations.

“It seemed like it took forever,” Naleway said.

Greater transparency

“Then you have to wait for your construction guy. He won’t wait until it’s done to come and do it. And if it could all be simplified a bit at the start, I feel like it could be a lot faster so people can start making money.”

Motkaluk wants to make information about the time between when the city receives a permit application and when it is issued more transparent.

The City of Winnipeg regularly reports on the time it takes the permit office to complete an initial review of applications.

“Permit approvals are always contingent upon proper submission of documentation and compliance with an inspector’s orders or instructions,” city spokesman Kalen Qually said in an email.

“The City will always attempt to work with an applicant if the information is incomplete, which saves a lot more time than rejecting a partial application.”

find efficiency

Information on total processing times – from the date of receipt of the application to its issuance – can be found on the city’s open data portal.

In 2021, the city received more than 11,000 permit applications. The median application processing time that year was 21 days.

Motkaluk would bring in experts from the private sector to review the permitting process and find ways to make it more efficient, she said.

These experts would apply a set of management principles known as “lean,” which seek to identify work that doesn’t add value to the citizen or customer, says Ron Koslowsky, vice-president of the Manitoba Division of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

The process involves talking to frontline employees “who are often very frustrated with the fact that they can’t provide good service…and working with them to find better ways to use these kinds of methodologies,” said said Koslowsky.

A 2019 review of planning, zoning and permitting services by the Manitoba government found that every day of unnecessary delay meant $400,000 in lost municipal tax revenue.

Reduce barriers to construction

On Wednesday, Motkaluk announced that it would put in place a policy preventing the city from erecting construction barriers when no active work is going on.

It would also change the way the city awards contracts to favor bidders who will get the job done the fastest.

“Right now … we’re awarding our contracts and we’re just looking for the lowest bid,” she said, “and I don’t believe the city measures the cost of extended closures when they do these closures. when they’ I do these tenders.”

She made her announcement at the Slices Pizza location on Stafford Street, which has been blocked for construction since May.

According to owner Joel Kurkjian, the traffic disruption has resulted in fewer people stopping for pizza on their way home from work.

“My coming home is non-existent,” she said. “Like I had a client the other day who said to me, ‘It’s a good thing you have a damn good pizza or I wouldn’t bother coming through here.'”

Motkaluk is one of 15 people running for mayor.

Other candidates who have registered mayoral campaigns are Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Chris Clacio, Vincent Gabriele, Scott Gillingham, Shaun Loney, Jenny Motkaluk, Glen Murray, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Jessica Peebles, Rick Shone, Govind Thawani, Desmond Thomas and Don Woodstock.

Election day is October 26.


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