How do the Winnipeg mayoral candidates plan to improve city infrastructure?

Winnipeg City Hall. CP Images/Francis Vachon

This fall’s municipal election is quickly approaching, and some of Winnipeg’s mayoral candidates have already made some big promises to improve city infrastructure.

There are 15 candidates vying for the position, including:

  • Christopher Clacio
  • Jennifer Motkaluk
  • Don Woodstock
  • Rick Shone
  • Scott Gillingham
  • Robert-Falcon Ouellette
  • Shaun Loney
  • Idris Ademuyiwa Adelakun
  • Rana Bokhari
  • Desmond Thomas
  • Glen Murray
  • Jessica Peebles
  • Kevin Klein
  • Govind Thawani
  • Vincent Gabriele

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Some of the candidates have already gone public with promises to citizens should they be elected.

Here is an overview of what candidates have pledged toward infrastructure so far:

Scott Gillingham plans to make several changes to city transit and transportation, including:

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  • Widening Kenaston Boulevard and extending Chief Peguis Trail to Route 90
  • $50 million more for road renewal
  • More buses for more frequent service
  • A safer, better-connected active transportation network

Glen Murray has also made several pledges toward transit in the city, including:

  • Service improvement through greater frequency along 13 key transit routes for 15 hours per day, every day
  • Winnipeg’s commitment to design complete, highly-walkable, “15-minute neighbourhoods”
  • The convergence of on-ground transportation, multimodal linkages and traffic management systems with online smart systems.

On Monday, Murray said he will make sure that Winnipeg will have a fully electric bus system by 2030.

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While this idea is good in theory, some officials believe candidates need to be talking more about their plans to make it real.

“What is their consensus building plan around council, what is their plan to engage those other levels, what’s the business case for it?” asked Bram Strain, president of Manitoba’s Business Council.

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“I think as we move on, those are the kind of questions that need to be asked of candidates: How are you going to deliver it?”

Rana Bokhari is focusing more on the livability of the city for some older residents, including:

  • Supportive and Enhanced Transit
  • Ensure recommendations of Winnipeg Transit Plus continue to be implemented as fast as possible
  • Decrease call wait times for Winnipeg Transit Plus
  • Evaluate the impact of expanded eligibility
  • Evaluate bus stops to ensure all are accessible by sidewalk or path

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However, not all candidates have their eyes set on fixing the city’s transit woes.

“My top priority for infrastructure is to supply municipal water and sewer services to CentrePort South to spark growth and investment,” said Jenny Motkaluk.

“CentrePort South will generate $80 million in annual tax revenue, bring 16,000 new jobs, $787 million in wages, and 10,000 new homes,” she added.

Motkaluk said she plans to make more announcements in the coming days.

However, Curt Hull from Climate Change Connection says a lot of these promises fall outside of the mayor’s scope, which means that a lot of collaboration would be needed to get things done.

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“We have to get the Crown corporations — Hydro, Efficiency Manitoba — talking to all levels of government and to businesses, working together into the details,” he said.

Not all candidates have made platform statements but they still have about a month and a half left to campaign before election day on Oct. 26.

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