August 20, 2014 2:35 pm

Winnipeg election 2014: candidates take aim at photo radar, taxes, 311

Gord Steeves announces policy on photo radar on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Josh Arason

WINNIPEG – Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves wants to make changes to to the city’s photo radar speed enforcement program.

The former St. Vital city councillor announced Wednesday that if elected, he will have signs put up warning drivers that photo radar trucks are present in construction zones.

There would also be “reader boards” present to show drivers what their speed actually is.

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Under current legislation, fines are doubled for speeding tickets in construction zones, as an extra incentive to slow down. But Steeves said the double penalty should only apply when workers are present.

“There is a perception out there that (photo radar) has crossed a threshold where this is less about safety and more about revenue,” Steeves said.

The program’s ultimate goal should be no photo radar tickets in construction zones, because drivers will have got the message to slow down, Steeves said.

Also Wednesday, mayoral candidate Brian Bowman enjoyed the support of a well-known Winnipegger.

Food for thought

Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Obby Khan offered his Exchange District restaurant, Shawarma Khan, as the backdrop for Bowman’s latest campaign announcement.

Brian Bowman with Obby Khan announcing business tax policy on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gage Fletcher

Bowman promised several measures to reduce the amount of taxes paid by small businesses. He said he would increase the small business tax credit to $30,000 from $23,880.  Bowman said he’d also lower the business tax rate to match increases in rent paid by businesses. The current rate is 5.7 per cent.

“At a minimum I want to freeze the rate they’re actually paying. So I’d like to go further and once we see the books, we’ll make an assessment,” Bowman said.

Calling for change

Mayoral candidate Paula Havixbeck also promised Wednesday to make Winnipeggers’ lives easier, announcing a planned overhaul of the city’s 311 service centre, the focus of frequent complaints about long waits for service and inadequate response.

Havixbeck, the councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo, said she would change the system to ensure the same operator follows a caller’s service request from start to finish.

Paula Havixbeck speaks to media at city hall about changes to 311 service, on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Josh Arason

“When citizens call in with simple concerns or requests the answers are rarely there but the game of bureaucratic hot potato begins,” Havixbeck is quoted saying in a news release. “This is not acceptable for citizens who deserve to have their issues dealt with and have accountability.”

There are eight people running for mayor of Winnipeg. The election is Oct. 22.

READ MORE: Winnipeg election 2014

© Shaw Media, 2014

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