Mayoral hopeful vows to bus, cycle and walk the climate walk
SHAUN Loney promises to walk, bike, bus or carpool to city hall if he’s elected to become Winnipeg’s next mayor.
Loney expects the pledge, made Thursday, would allow him to leave most of the mayor’s $550 monthly transportation allowance unspent.
“In my career working downtown, I have commuted actively or with transit. In fact, sometimes I skate or canoe, if I’ve got time. It’s my normal practice, but, primarily, I really want Winnipeggers who want a big-city transit system, who value active transportation, to know I am their candidate in this election,” he said.
Loney said he hopes to spend just $50 per month of the allowance to load his Peggo card to use Winnipeg Transit instead.
However, the current expense policy notes “normal daily travel between home and the normal work location (i.e. city hall)” is not an eligible expense for the mayor to claim, since the funding is meant to cover other costs, such as workday trips, mileage and parking.
Loney said he would cover alternative travel expenses through his discretionary budget, if needed, while pursuing council changes to the policy itself.
The social enterprise leader hopes his commitment will highlight the value of public and active transportation, options he will make future pledges to improve.
“If we’re going to have a big-city public transportation system, Winnipeggers need to use it because it’s the best option for them... We want something that people take… because it’s faster, it’s cheaper and it’s more convenient,” he said.
Over four years, he says reliance on public transportation, instead of a personal vehicle, could save thousands of dollars that could be used to purchase bus tickets for clients of non-profit support groups.
That would also require a change to the current mayoral expense policy, which automatically diverts unspent funds to the city’s general revenues.
Coun. Matt Allard, council’s public works chairman, welcomed the commitment to rely on greener transportation options to commute to city hall.
“I think initiatives by leaders like that in the community, who are visible and who are able to promote that message, are good… as someone who is running for public office, (that example could) encourage other people to do it,” said Allard.
The St. Boniface councillor said some residents have told him his own pledge to exclusively commute by Winnipeg Transit throughout January 2018 inspired them to follow suit. Four years later, he remains a regular bus rider.
Seven other mayoral candidates have registered to run for mayor so far, including Jenny Motkaluk, Don Woodstock, Christopher Clacio, Rick Shone, Scott Gillingham, Robert-Falcon Ouellette and Idris Ademuyiwa Adelakun. Mayor Brian Bowman is not running for re-election.
In an email, Gillingham said he frequently rides a bike or bus to work as the city councillor for St. James.
Woodstock told the Free Press he “strongly supports” biking, walking and public transportation to get around, and he also owns an electric car.
The remaining candidates could not be reached for comment.
Winnipeggers will elect their next mayor and council on Oct. 26.