Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Councillors chicken out on backyard coops

Not ready for the regulations, Steeves says after vote

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Anyone who wants to raise a few hens in a Winnipeg backyard had better not start counting their chickens.

City council's property and development committee voted Tuesday to effectively ignore a request to study the idea of allowing Winnipeggers to keep egg-laying hens within city limits.

Some North American cities allow the practice, but Winnipeg isn't ready to get cracking on backyard egg operations.

"I don't think I am ready to move through a set of regulations where people can have chickens in residential neighbourhoods," committee chairman Gord Steeves (St. Vital) said following the unanimous vote.

St. Boniface resident Darby Jones and Stephanie Fulford from Resource Conservation Manitoba appeared before Couns. Steeves, Russ Wyatt (Transcona), Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) and Mike O'Shaughnessy (Old Kildonan) to laud the food-security benefits of backyard poultry.

The councillors were intrigued with the idea of people growing their own food, but did not bite.

"Why stop there?" Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt asked facetiously. "Why not goats?"

Derelict building crackdown moves ahead

 

WINNIPEG'S new plan to crack down on vacant and derelict buildings received unanimous approval from council's property committee on Tuesday, despite some skepticism about the ability to drag scofflaws into court in a timely manner.

Property and community health inspectors hope to slash the number of vacant and derelict buildings in the city from 614 to 300 within three years by conducting more inspections, levying new fees and fines, creating new occupancy rules and shortening the time it takes to convict derelict property owners and - if necessary - seize their properties.

The plan comes before executive policy committee on July 14 and then heads to council on July 21, where it's expected to receive unanimous support.

 

Another mayoral candidate

A 27-year-old real estate broker is the fourth candidate to register to run for mayor in Winnipeg this fall.

On Tuesday, Rav Gill joined the race against incumbent Sam Katz, former NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis and appliance salesman Avery Petrowski.

Gill says he's running because he believes city services such as garbage collection and policing could be conducted more efficiently. If elected, he would lobby the Manitoba government to phase out the provincial education support levy, which the city collects alongside property taxes.

Two more council candidates also registered on Tuesday, in what will likely be open wards.

In Daniel McIntyre, where Harvey Smith plans to retire, school trustee and former Winnipeg Citizens' Coalition co-chair Cindy Gilroy-Price has joined the race against MP Pat Martin's assistant Keith Bellamy and insurance broker John Cardoso.

In Mynarksi, where an ailing Harry Lazarenko may not run again, NDP-affiliated two-time Old Kildonan candidate Ross Eadie has joined the race against Greg Littlejohn, who ran against Lazarenko in 2006.

 

Council expenses to go online

CITY council will have a chance to debate a plan to post councillors' expenses online and clarify the way civic politicians can spend money on office expenses and community events.

On Tuesday, council's secretariat committee reviewed city auditor Brian Whiteside's recommendation that councillors disclose individual expenses - including the date, amount and vendor - on the City of Winnipeg's website four times a year.

In a report, Whiteside also suggested changes to the list of eligible expenses, recommended limits on some forms of spending and suggested standardizing the type of equipment councillors may purchase for professional use.

His report will move on to executive policy committee and eventually city council as a whole.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz has pushed for online disclosure since early 2009. He posts summaries of his expenses online, but not the details of each bill.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 7, 2010 B2

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