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Rapid-transit proposal rolls on

The completion of the bus rapid-transit corridor earned support from senior councillors Wednesday but not before the plan came under heavy criticism.

Mayor Sam Katz and his executive policy committee voted four to one to endorse the $590-million project.

The proposal moves to council next week, where it's also expected to pass.

Coun. Justin Swandel (St. Norbert) was the only EPC member to vote against the proposal, claiming the project is being rushed when more time is needed to make it better.

Voting for the proposal were Katz and Couns. Brian Mayes (St. Vital), Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) and Russ Wyatt (Transcona).

Coun. John Orlikow, not a member of EPC, told the committee he supports rapid transit but believes the proposal is faulty, citing concerns over the route and the decision to have a private firm design, build and maintain the corridor.

Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) said he is also concerned there is no plan on how to finance the project.

Senior cops get pay hike

Senior Winnipeg Police Service officers will get wage increases that match those recently given to front-line officers.

On Wednesday, executive policy committee endorsed the terms of a four-year collective agreement between the City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Police Senior Officers' Association, which will give them a total wage increase of 13 per cent over the life of the deal.

The percentage increases match those negotiated with members of the Winnipeg Police Association: increases of 3.5 per cent the first two years and three per cent the final two years. The deal with the senior officers expires in December 2016.

An administrative report said the cumulative cost to the city, including improvements to benefits and shift premiums, totals $1.75 million, with annual costs of about $750,000.

The deal goes to council for approval next week.


City adding HR staff for WFPS

A large increase in the staffing of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has prompted city hall to add more staff to help manage the front-line workers.

An additional human resources consultant and a clerk are being added to the WFPS budget to help deal with a 13 per cent increase in the WFPS staff complement since 2006.

An administrative report says the WFPS staff went from 1,184 to 1,341 employees in the past eight years.

The report says the bulk of the additional staff came from the emergency medical services side, where the province is paying for the additional staff.


WSD chair to run for council

Winnipeg School Division board chairwoman Suzanne Hrynyk said Wednesday she will run for a city council seat in the Old Kildonan ward in October's municipal election.

The 49-year-old Hrynyk has been a school trustee for eight years.

A supporter of bus rapid transit, Hrynyk said she will make infrastructure renewal a top priority.

She lives just outside the ward but promised to move into Old Kildonan once elected.

The seat is now held by Devi Sharma.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2014 A6

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