Winnipeg mayor calls for transit officers in first state of the city address

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg mayor delivers his 1st annual state of the city address'
Winnipeg mayor delivers his 1st annual state of the city address
Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham delivered his first annual state of the city address on Thursday to reflect on the first four months at city hall, and to forecast his plans to improve Winnipeg. Gillingham said his strategy to address homelessness will be sustainable and compassionate, citing case studies from major cities in North America. Gillingham also addressed other issues, such as economic growth and public safety, to drive home his commitment to progress – Mar 2, 2023

Winnipeg mayor Scott Gillingham says two dozen peace officers will soon be aboard Winnipeg Transit buses to combat safety concerns.

The beefed-up bus security was one of a number of announcements the mayor made at his inaugural State of the City address Thursday.

The officers, he said, will focus on de-escalation, security, training programs, and more, while initially monitoring five bus routes — which have yet to be announced.

“Our goal,” the mayor said, “is to hire and train 24 peace officers this year to begin patrolling our buses and our bus stops as soon as possible.

“We’ve checked the data, and more than 40 per cent of the assaults and serious incidents that take place take place on the same five routes, so we already know where to concentrate our patrols to be effective.”

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Gillingham said if this program is successful, it could be implemented in other areas of our city where safety concerns have been raised, including the Millennium Library.

The mayor’s address to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce acted as a progress report on his first few months in the city’s top job, as well as an outlook for what Winnipeggers can expect on key issues facing the city going forward.

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Gillingham, a longtime city councillor in west Winnipeg, was voted in as mayor last October.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce hosting State of City address'
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce hosting State of City address

Prior to the mayor’s address, Chamber CEO Loren Remillard told Global News it was difficult to assess Gillingham’s accomplishments as mayor after such a short time in office, but he likes what he sees.

“Four months … in business you’re still not even through the probation period,” Remillard said. “So the reality is, I think he — like a lot of mayors — is learning the job.

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“We elect leaders for two reasons: wisdom and character. While some may disagree with some of the policies over time, anyone that has met this mayor will say he is a solid individual, solid character, solid wisdom.

“I think he’s off to a really good start.”

Political science professor Aaron Moore of the University of Winnipeg said his first impressions of Gillingham’s tenure as mayor have also been positive — and that he’s taking a different approach from past mayors.

“I think he’s done a very good job reaching out to both the provincial level and … reaching out to his colleagues on council,” Moore said.

“He’s trying to deliver on his promises and he’s been doing that right out of the gate, so I think he’s doing quite good so far.

“He seems much more willing to reach out and work with people … and his approach with people is a lot calmer. That can change over time, but I certainly get the impression the way he intends to run the city is different.”

Global News will livestream Gillingham’s state of the city address on this page Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

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Click to play video: 'Concerns over crime, addictions, ahead of State of City address'
Concerns over crime, addictions, ahead of State of City address


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