Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 03/9/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Things in Winnipeg are looking up, according to Mayor Sam Katz -- so up that he hints he will seek another term in office.
On Friday, Katz delivered his annual state of the city address to 1,000 people at a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce-sponsored luncheon at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
The mayor focused on the positive -- the downtown renovations of the Metropolitan and Avenue buildings, the new IKEA store and the overhaul at the Assiniboine Park Zoo -- saying the city is in a period of renewal.
His address was in stark contrast to last year's, when he used it to complain the city needs a better funding deal with the province and said Winnipeg does not have enough money to finance new and existing infrastructure.
The mayor made no new policy announcements Friday, but reiterated the city's pledge to reduce red tape for businesses through a speedier permit process and adopting a national business number system. He said investors are lining up to come to Winnipeg and the city wants to continue to support local communities through recreation and employment opportunities to keep the momentum going.
After his speech, Katz hinted he may run for re-election in 2014.
"Can you think of any reason why I should not run?" he asked reporters.
He was elected in a 2004 byelection and has previously said two full terms as mayor should be enough. He will have served 21/2 terms when the civic election is held is 2014.
Business leaders praised the upbeat address for highlighting some of Winnipeg's recent achievements. Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce president Dave Angus said he thought it was important Katz focused on positives, as dwelling on negatives can bring a city down.
Last year, concerns over Winnipeg's fire-paramedic station replacement program sparked two separate audits. The city is in the midst of an audit of real estate transactions dating back at least five years and a probe of the fire-hall project.
Angus said the mayor wasn't defensive or negative and used the address to discuss what the city has accomplished, which may signal his intention to run for re-election.
"You could draw that conclusion because it really is looking at what we've accomplished, and some of the things he talked about go back a ways, so who knows?" Angus said.
Asked if he's confident he will win another term, Katz said the first time he ran for mayor he defeated many high-profile, quality candidates. In the last civic election, he beat a former MLA and MP (Judy Wasylycia-Leis).
Coun. Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo), who is considering running for mayor in 2014, said Winnipeg is fortunate to have so many people in the community who do great things for the city.
However, she said she would have liked to hear the mayor specify where Winnipeg is going as a city and she questions why the city needs a tax increase in 2013, given the recent growth it has seen.
Half the net proceeds from Friday's state of the city luncheon will be donated to Beyond Borders, ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
The mayor took a dig at the city's new waste collector, Emterra, which won a business award last week. "No word on whether the award has been picked up yet," Katz joked.
Katz said Winnipeg offers inner-city youth free recreation programs and yes, "they still ask me to come back and play soccer."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2013 A13
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
ER doctor acclaimed as federal Liberal candidate
Iraq-Ukraine mission costs kept secret
More job cuts expected at U of M
Chris Kreider's late goal lifts Rangers over Jets 3-2
Jeff Browaty wants to be federal Tory candidate in Kildonan-St. Paul
Two NDP MLAs want their colleagues to sign a pledge to stop leaks to the media
Wallin expensed private trips, RCMP allege
Info watchdog calls for access overhaul
Federal spending on child care to hit $7.7B in 2015-16: PBO report
Chefs not happy city institutes annual parking pass for food trucks
Transcona rated worst in city's litter index
First baseman Casey Haerther coming back to the Goldeyes
Officials finish examining plane crash site
Buhari wins in Nigeria, defeating Goodluck Jonathan
Indiana governor wants changes to religious-objections law
Study gets behind the private school edge
CFS report on Tina a private matter: province
Study finds quarter of hockey helmets tested unsafe
No nuke agreement yet: Iran talks push past deadline
Bombers add receiver Derrick Hector
Man charged in deaths of boys by python
Trevor Noah defends self in backlash to old tweets
Man sought in connection with restaurant robbery
Canada gets a breather before semifinal
Decemberists at the Burt in July
Yard waste collection begins next week
Manitoba average weekly earnings show strong yearly growth
Newish Jewish noshes
Canada urges speed on Syria appeal in Kuwait
Super-fruit even more super grown here
Rob Ford apologizes for racial slurs
Pleading for federal cash
Railway relocation isn't blowing smoke
Chicago firm moves to acquire cabinetmaker with local ties
Sunny later today, even warmer on Wednesday
Mandatory indigenous courses add value
RCMP, Dakota Ojibway Police Service investigate suspicious deaths
True North granted extension
Suspects sought after stabbings put two in hospital
Relationship-challenged loners forge an unlikable alliance