Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City Hall Roundup

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IT'S 19 months before the next mayoral race, but the jockeying has already begun.

St. Norbert Coun. Justin Swandel says Mayor Sam Katz should declare whether he intends to run for re-election next year in an effort to bring stability to city hall.

At Wednesday's council meeting, Swandel used question period to inquire whether Katz will seek a fourth term in office in 2014. Doing so would "bring stability to the chamber," suggested Swandel, who has mused about running for mayor.

In response, Katz said Swandel should call the mayor's wife to have a serious discussion about the future. The councillor replied he'd call Katz's spouse to confirm the mayor is as good on the dance floor as he is dancing around questions at city hall.

After the council meeting, Katz told reporters he has yet to make up his mind about 2014. He dismissed the suggestion it would be prudent to give potential candidates advance notice if he doesn't intend to run, claiming anyone can decide to run for mayor, regardless of his intentions. In Toronto, former mayor David Miller gave one year's notice of his intention not to seek re-election in 2010. Katz said he's nothing like Miller.

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TWO Winnipeg councillors want to explore ways of encouraging grocery stores to open in neighbourhoods that need them.

On Wednesday, Couns. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) and Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) asked the city to investigate incentives to encourage grocery stores to open in Winnipeg's "food deserts," as Zellers in the Bay building, Extra Foods on Main Street, and Food Fare on Arlington Street have recently closed.

Gerbasi said "food deserts" are starting to appear in parts of the downtown and North End, and the city should examine what incentives might make sense. The motion was sent to council's executive policy committee to review.

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New federal money dedicated to municipal infrastructure won't solve the City of Winnipeg's problems, Mayor Sam Katz says.

Today, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is expected to announce up to $5 billion a year in municipal infrastructure funding as part of the federal budget.

Katz said the money is welcome, but would go only so far, as the city would have to match it. He has long maintained that is not fair, given the city's limited taxation powers.

Funding the city's waste-water upgrade, which could eventually cost more than $4 billion, remains near the top of the city's infrastructure wish list, Katz said.

-- Bartley Kives and Jen Skerritt

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 21, 2013 B2

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