Unfortunately, it appears that the new AT infrastructure projects (which
must be completed before the snow falls or the funding from the province and
feds is lost) are being used as a political football with the upcoming
election. An easy mark, perhaps.
Please note that the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is hosting a Mayoral Forum next
Thursday, October 7, 5:30-7:30 pm at Manitoba Hydro Place. Richard Cloutier
(CJOB) and Dan Lett (Winnipeg Free Press) will lead the candidates in a
dynamic discussion about downtown issues, including bike lanes, rapid
transit, etc. This should be an excellent opportunity for input and
discussion.I will circulate a notice for the forum shortly.
Workplace Commuter Options
Green Action Centre
Green Action Centre is a registered charity. Please consider making a
Bike-pedestrian project stalls Katz, Wasylycia-Leis call upgrade a
By: Bartley Kives
The City of Winnipeg has put the brakes on another bike-and-pedestrian
project as both of Winnipeg's leading mayoral candidates described the
city's $20.4-million active-transportation upgrade as a public-consultation
On Monday afternoon, incumbent Mayor Sam Katz told reporters he wants to
halt construction on the $250,000 Bannatyne-McDermot bikeway, one of 36
active-transportation projects the city planned to conduct this year with
the help of federal and provincial infrastructure money.
Hours later, the city placed the project on hold, citing the need to conduct
more talks with residents and businesses along the route, which runs from
Waterfront Drive to Sherbrook Street.
"During projects such as this, sometimes dialogue with the community results
in improvements to the project through design change," city spokesman Steve
West said in a statement. "With regard to the McDermot Bikeway, we have
concluded that more dialogue will be beneficial."
The move comes as another blow to an active-transportation project all three
levels of government have hailed as a long overdue upgrade to the city's
network of bike-and-pedestrian corridors. The $20.4 million in spending
represents nearly an eight-fold increase over the $2.6 million the city
typically spends every year to build recreational and commuter cycling
routes as well as other pathways.
Several of the projects have angered residents and businesses, who claim the
city failed to consult with them properly about the changes.
A $1-million bridge planned for Omand Park was struck from the project list
this spring. At the end of the summer, six Broadway-Assiniboine businesses
sued the city over the $125,000 Assiniboine Bikeway.
Work on the Assiniboine Avenue project continues, but the Bannatyne-McDermot
project has now been shelved, leading Katz to criticize city staff about the
project for the fourth time in six days.
"This city does not have to go the extra mile. It has to go the extra 10
miles in consultation," Katz told reporters after a mayoral-candidate forum
at the Fort Garry Hotel. "When anything like this happens in the future, you
will see consultation above and beyond."
Katz told reporters he did not personally vote in favour of the projects,
which he said were approved by community committees. In fact, the mayor and
12 out of 15 councillors approved the active-transportation upgrade on Dec.
15, 2009, when council approved the 2010 capital budget.
And the project details merely came before community committees as
information. Only the capital budget provides authority for the spending.
In a scrum with reporters, Katz accepted responsibility. "I am the mayor. No
matter where you draw the line, the buck ends up at my table," he said.
Mayoral challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis said Katz should also halt the
Assiniboine Bikeway if he's serious about public consultation.
"It's a little late in the game, in an election period, saying he's going to
halt construction," she told reporters. "He's acknowledging he made a
strategic error in planning and consulting."
After a round of public-service cuts at the management level in 2009, the
city has two senior staffers working on the active-transportation upgrade.
Private consultants were also hired to engage in public consultation.
Katz has dismissed suggestions meagre resources are not to blame for the
city's performance. He also said tight timelines associated with the federal
funding for the active-transportation upgrade are to blame.
The projects must be finished before the end of March to qualify for federal
infrastructure money. All but three must be completed before the snow falls
because they involve laying concrete.