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Election goodies out: Steeves

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Winnipeg mayoral candidate Gord Steeves vowed Friday to prevent elected officials from announcing infrastructure goodies in future election years.

On Friday, the lawyer and former city councillor promised to freeze spending on infrastructure projects that are not already vetted by city administrators and approved in the city's future spending plans.

Steeves said if he's elected mayor on Oct. 22, he'd enact a five-year freeze on spending on any project that isn't already approved by city council -- with the exception of those paid for in part by the federal or provincial governments.

"All infrastructure not included in the presently approved council budget will not be brought forward without a life-cycle cost business case," Steeves said.

His infrastructure promises also included a pledge to speed up regional road-renewal projects by ensuring 75 per cent of them are worked on during evenings and weekends.

This pledge has been made by elected officials in Winnipeg before, starting with St. James-Brooklands Coun. Scott Fielding in 2006.

Since then, council has tried and largely failed to direct the public works department to do more road repairs after business hours for years.

The resistance is partly due to safety concerns associated with work after dark and partly due to the limited capacity of the local construction industry.

Steeves said he could help improve this capacity by ensuring capital projects are tendered earlier -- something fellow mayoral candidate Paula Havixbeck also pledged to do in May.

Steeves also promised to commit $421,000 to a two-week pothole-repair blitz and create a working group with Ottawa and Broadway to better align infrastructure-funding priorities.

In other election news, Cindy Gilroy -- a former school trustee and assistant to NDP cabinet minister Kevin Chief -- registered as a council candidate in Daniel McIntyre.

This sets up a 2010 election rematch with NDP-affiliated Winnipeg Folk Festival employee Keith Bellamy and incumbent Harvey Smith, who has yet to register.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2014 A8

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