Eminent Domain

Blog, Municipal Government, Les Routledge

The city owned most of the land, allowing it to sit fallow for decades while turning down Mr. Bae and other business owners who wanted to buy parcels to expand their operations.  “It’s artificially manufactured blight,” Mr. Bae said. The New York Times

This article that explores how expropriation can appear to favour big developers over small business leads to a bigger question, namely  Why was the City able to sit on this land asset for decades while the vibrancy of the community eroded away?

The Government of New Zealand dealt with a comparable question by instituting a capital charge that was reflected as an annual operating expense in departmental budgets (Putting it Together p.42).

Departments pay a capital charge to the Crown every year. The charge provides an incentive for departments to manage their assets efficiently. It also ensures that prices for goods and services produced by the departments reflect full production costs, including the cost of capital.

I wonder how many government-owned surface parking lots would remain in Winnipeg if this policy was implemented in Manitoba?