A city councillor has filed a complaint with the provincial ombudsman to obtain a report on the impacts of opening Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic.
Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said Mayor Brian Bowman is keeping private a taxpayer-funded study detailing the costs and traffic impacts of opening up Winnipeg's famous intersection.
"For some reason it's being cloaked in a veil of secrecy," he said.
The public, businesses and council need to see the $116,000 report by Dillon Consulting to make an informed decision, Browaty said.
"Maybe it's good news, maybe it's bad news, but I'm guessing it's bad news because they're holding it back," he said.
Reopening the intersection was a key campaign promise Bowman made when running for the mayor's job in 2014.
Bowman has said a report is coming from the administration for council's consideration sometime this year, which will include the consultant's study. City officials have been working on a report since the fall. Senior civic officials confirmed in November the consultant's study had been completed, and it found no obstacles to removing the barriers.
Browaty has opposed the reopening from the start. As a member of the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works, he requested a copy from the city's chief administrative officer, Doug McNeil, in January. McNeil reiterated what Bowman said, that it wouldn't be released until the city produced its own report.
Browaty then filed a Freedom of Information request. Browaty's request was denied on the grounds the report was scheduled for release within 60 days.
When the report wasn't released, another request was automatically triggered under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Browaty's application was finally denied on Wednesday. Browaty filed a complaint with the Manitoba Ombudsman Thursday "regarding the city's discretionary exception to disclosure."
Browaty doesn't understand how the release of the report could be somehow harmful to the city.
"I find that very hard to believe. In fact, it's the opposite," he said.
Browaty believes his request was denied because Bowman doesn't like the findings in the report.