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Mayor Katz to halt Bannatyne-McDermot Bikeway

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WINNIPEG - Mayor Sam Katz says he wants to stop another one of Winnipeg’s 35 active-transportation projects – and it’s not the Assiniboine Bikeway.

Katz told reporters this afternoon he plans to speak to acting chief administrative officer Mike Ruta about putting a halt to the $250,000 Bannatyne-McDermot Bikeway, which is slated to run from Waterfront Drive to Sherbrook Street.

The mayor suggested people and businesses in the area were not consulted properly.

The city is in the midst of spending $20.4 million on a bike-and-pedestrian corridor upgrade with the help of the provincial government and Ottawa. Some of the routes have been the subject of criticism from residents who say they were not consulted properly about the changes. A group of Broadway-Assiniboine neighbourhood businesses even sued the city in an attempt to stop the $125,000 Assiniboine Bikeway.

That lawsuit likely won’t be heard before the bikeway is complete. Katz said there is no point halting it because the work is mostly done.

Today, however, he told reporters in a scrum at the Fort Garry Hotel that he wants to halt the Bannatyne-McDermot Bikeway. He again lambasted city staff and consultants for the way the public was informed and said he did not vote on the specifics of the project.

The active-transportation upgrades were approved by council as a whole in late 2009, when council voted in favour of the 2010 capital budget. Katz has repeatedly trumpeted his role in expanding the city’s network of commuter-cycling and recreational trails.

Mayoral challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis also said the city failed to consult residents properly.

Katz said as mayor, the responsibility ultimately lies with him.

All the active-transportation work must be completed before the end of March, which effectively means most routes must be done before the snow falls. The mayor has denied the short timeframe has played a role in the headaches surrounding some of the routes.

He has also disputed the notion budget cuts at the middle-management level at city hall have contributed to the confusion.

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