Supporting a sustainable University community
The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to support the development of a sustainable University community, guided by the four pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, economic and cultural.
Work done by the UWCRC has included a direct contribution to the positive revitalization of Winnipeg’s downtown and advancement of the UWinnipeg campus and community as an innovative, dynamic,and sustainable place to live, work, and play.
In 2016, the Board of UWCRC and the Board of Regents of the University of Winnipeg saw the benefit in creating a parallel development corporation (UWCRC 2.0) to foster values-driven development in the broader community and to provide an entrepreneurial response to the University’s ongoing financial challenges.
The mandate of UWCRC 2.0 is to apply UWCRC’s values, skills, competencies, and experience to non-University specific economic development activities. UWCRC 2.0 is mandated to develop wholly-owned or joint-venture real estate developments and to provide development, project management and property management services to other post-secondary institutions, non-profit organizations and First Nations clients.
UWCRC 2.0 is currently working on several mixed-use (commercial/residential), mixed-income (market/affordable) housing projects, which are in the pre-development phase in downtown Winnipeg. These projects include a 100+ unit residence in partnership with a local church and a wholly-owned 100+ unit residence in the downtown arts precinct. UWCRC 2.0 has also been retained by Brandon University to facilitate a planning process for a University led revitalization of Downtown Brandon.
As this stream of revenue grows, UWCRC 2.0 will be in a position to make regular financial contributions towards UWinnipeg’s academic and research programs and future capital projects.
UWCRC has a unique structure supporting active partnerships with community, private and public sector organizations:
Half of UWCRC’s 16-member Board is drawn from the University community, including the President, who serves as chair.
The other half comes from the community including neighbourhood organizations, developers, development professionals and individuals with the specialized background, experience and commitment necessary to advance the UWCRC mission. This is a unique approach that puts development capacity and experience at the top of the list for those UWCRC seeks to appoint to its board.
The community provides formal input through the Board governance process, during all stages of University development, projects and initiatives and through opportunities for joint University/community initiatives that benefit the community as a whole. This approach provides a regular communication forum to break down barriers and ensure community input is part of all stages of development.
UWCRC’s work is focused on four key areas of development. Sustainability principles are incorporated into every development project.
› Property Development
UWCRC leverages its considerable expertise in the areas of efficient property development to support a number of existing and new operations. All new buildings are designed with a minimum LEED Silver certification.
The student and community residence, McFeetors Hall, combines dorms with affordable apartments and reserves half of the apartment units for community residents.
The on-site daycare offsets a shortage of daycare availability throughout the city with quality, affordable daycare services for children from the UWinnipeg community as well as children from local neighbourhoods.
The Buhler Centre is a joint venture with the Plug-in Institute of Contemporary Art.
The United Health & RecPlex, will guarantee significant community programming and access for the University and surrounding community.
› Management of business units
UWCRC offers management services to support the success and fiscal sustainability of a number of on campus ventures:
Community and student housing
› Community Economic Development
UWCRC has partnered with community organizations to identify opportunities and focus on economic development in inner-city neighbourhoods.
In collaboration with SEED Winnipeg, UWCRC has created a unique campus food service, Diversity Foods. This is a social enterprise that provides affordable, nutritious, locally sourced, organic, multi-ethnic food for the UWinnipeg and surrounding community. Diversity also provides significant job opportunities for new Canadians and Aboriginal people.
UWCRC is overseeing a redevelopment in Winnipeg’s North End for both University and other purposes, including housing and commercial enterprises.
› First Nations Economic Development
UWCRC is also involved in business development capacity building for First Nations. This includes a land acquisition plan using Treaty Land Entitlement funds, and an organic fertilizer facility using fish polluting Lake Winnipeg.
› Research Commercialization
Finally, UWCRC is involved in managing the commercialization of UWinnipeg research to support a number of important projects that will forward UWCRC’s commitment to sustainability throughout the University and community.