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Mayoral roundup

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Havixbeck touts more police in schools

Transit dominated the Winnipeg mayoral campaign Thursday, but the candidates had lots to say about post-secondary education, winter services and cops in schools.

Before she got lost with transit, Judy Wasylycia-Leis outlined a winter services plan, very similar to what Paula Havixbeck announced last week. Wasylycia-Leis said the city's priority for the winter would be snow removal, ensuring there is no repeat of the past winter's frozen pipes situation and overhauling the 311 information system.

At her event at city hall, Havixbeck said she would detail her financing plans for the transit corridor in the next few days, but added she found $30 million in unnecessary spending in the 2013 budget and believes she could do it again to finance the bus corridor.

Havixbeck released another component of her campaign, with a pledge to promote the benefits of the cops-in-schools program to encourage all schools to consider it.

She said she'd promote adoption of the school-resource-officer program, adding it's shown to provide benefits to students, schools and the community.

"Many school principals and teachers tell me about the importance of this program," Havixbeck said. This is often the only positive interaction some young people have with police."

The SRO program is a partnership between the city, participating school divisions and the province. Only three school divisions -- Winnipeg, St. James-Assiniboia, and Pembina Trails -- are participating now, with police officers assigned to work the divisions' high schools and junior high schools.

Havixbeck said she hoped she could secure corporate sponsorship for the program, making it easier for cash-strapped school divisions and private schools to participate.

 

Bowman wants greater connection to universities

BRIAN Bowman vowed to tap into the expertise of Winnipeg's post-secondary institutions, benefiting students and the city.

Wearing a University of Manitoba Bisons jacket and standing in the middle of the U of M's Fort Garry campus, Bowman outlined a five-point plan to bridge city hall with the city's college and universities.

"It's time to harness the strength of colleges and universities to help Winnipeg reach its full potential," Bowman said as students hurried across campus, seemingly oblivious to the mayoral hopeful.

Bowman's plan includes:

  • Creating a new research chair in municipal engineering at the University of Manitoba, which he estimated would cost $100,000 annually.
  • Creating an expert panel with post-secondary institutions to identify best municipal infrastructure practices.
  • Establishing a mayor's scholarship to provide financial, support for the brightest Grade 12 graduates entering post-secondary institutions.
  • Reviewing and expanding co-op and internship positions across the civic administration.
  • Support community-engagement programs, such as the rehabilitation of the Merchant's Hotel.

Bowman's post-secondary plan is also similar to one announced earlier by Havixbeck, who also wants to tap into the expertise at the city's colleges and universities.

Bowman, who studied at the U of M and is a former president of its alumni association, said his plan will engage students and faculty and help city hall find solutions for its crumbling infrastructure.

"I have said throughout this campaign that we are stronger when we are working together," Bowman said. "As mayor, I want our incredible colleges and universities to be part of a stronger, vibrant Winnipeg."

 

Replace rapid transit with light-rail system: Sanders

DAVID Sanders said he would suspend completion of the southwest rapid transit corridor for a year to upgrade the project to replace buses with light rail on a simplified route.

Sanders told a gathering of supporters at the Fort Garry Hotel the civic administration and current council has bungled the rapid-transit project, adding staff refuse to release key documents and council doesn't know where to find the funds for the annual $20 million financing costs.

"If the present transitway scheme is as shaky as I think it is, it will be far better if we take a little more time to determine a better way of providing real rapid transit service," Sanders said.

Sanders said he opposes the dog-leg route that takes the transit corridor west of Pembina Highway through an empty field, adding the city would be better off relocating the CN Rail Letellier line and making a new route straight up Pembina Highway to the U of M.

Sanders accused the civic administration of refusing to release copies of a detailed cost-benefit analysis and a value-for-money review of the project, even though the documents have been submitted to the federal government.

Sanders said if elected, he would order staff to release the documents or invite them to quit if they refuse.

-- Aldo Santin

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 5, 2014 B4

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