May 16, 2013 7:19 pm

Golf ad campaign gets Mayor Sam Katz in hot water

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz is under fire for an ad campaign critics say is misleading and a misuse of taxpayers money.

A print ad and website appeared May 16, backing the mayor’s plan to sell off city golf courses while urging citizens to lobby their councillors.

The ads look like a third-party show of support for Katz’s plan, but they’re paid for by the taxpayer.

Mayor Sam Katz says he’s just making sure the public is clear on the issue.

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“When the  golf courses issue came up last time, the city was criticized for not giving the public the facts. They wanted more information.”

The ads seemed to be from an organization called “Responsible Winnipeg.” The City of Winnipeg logo was nowhere to be found in print, and not often online.

The mayor denied trying to hide the fact the $90,000 campaign is paid for by taxpayers, saying the missing logo was just an oversight.

City council is divided on whether to sell the John Blumberg golf course and lease four others to GolfNorth Properties, an Ontario-based company. Council needs a majority to declare the land surplus but needs a two-thirds majority to sell the land.

“This is part of council lobbying another part of council … It’s unheard of, ” Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said. “It’s a lot of public money being spent on a flashing campaign to try to convince councillors to vote a different way.”

Council votes on the plan on May 29.

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