Bartley Kives

  • How the seven mayoral candidates stack up so far

    Three months before Winnipeggers go to the polls, voters can be forgiven for not knowing much about the seven mayoral candidates. Despite repeated pledges that the wide-open 2014 mayoral race would feature more substance and less timidity than previous contests, what Winnipeg has witnessed so far has been a disappointing snooze. The policy pledges are arriving at an average rate of one per month, per candidate. Actual issues have been sidelined in favour of appearances at festivals. The candidates seem to be holding their fire until September -- even though most promised precisely not to do that when this lame excuse of a race began in earnest almost three months ago.
  • Call inquiry into city hall's rotten, fetid mess

    In the depths of a Winnipeg summer, citizens may be more concerned about whether their barbecues have enough propane than burning questions about the thick, black smoke emanating from a smouldering city hall. This is unfortunate. In the dying months of the most ignominious council term since 1874, when Winnipeg chose a violent racist to be mayor, there's an opportunity to shine a light on the severe mismanagement and questionable decision-making that botched major projects, infected real estate deals and tarnished the reputation of the city.
  • Constant stream of ugly revelations simply maddening

    Given the rate embarrassing audits are piling up at city hall, Mayor Sam Katz ought to buy one of those erasable signs that would allow him to pencil in the number of days since the last revelation of severe mismanagement. On Tuesday, the consulting firm KPMG presented an audit into Winnipeg's police headquarters, a project originally sold to the public as a $135-million job that would make more financial and operational sense than simply re-cladding the crumbling exterior of the Public Safety Building.
  • High water levels create hidden dangers

    For the second time in four years, southern Manitoba is afflicted by a province-spanning flood. This spells disaster for some and creates stress for others, at a time when the vast majority of us are used to enjoying the brief summer.
  • Residents got grief; developer got sweet deal

    Five years ago, rookie River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow was greener than a July tomato when he was handed a nightmare of a proposal for his ward. On July 13 of that year, Winnipeg suddenly faced a proposal to swap one of the largest parcels of undeveloped city-owned land for a smaller chunk of land belonging to developer Andrew Marquess.
  • Parcel Four emerges yet again

    When Winnipeg's elected officials finish arguing over whether to call a real estate investigation an audit, a review or yet another embarrassing thingamajig, they'll be forced to accept yet another ugly revelation about Parcel Four. This humble gravel parking lot near The Forks is the municipal version of a chronic STI. It's the gift that keeps on giving -- a recurring problem that continually plagues both elected officials and administrators, especially when they believe they've found a cure.
  • Timeless beauty

    A century ago, Winnipeg was one of the most optimistic places on the continent. Thanks to the railway boom, Manitoba's capital had grown from a village of 1,869 people when it was incorporated in 1873 to a city of nearly 150,000 in 1914.
  • Get your Royalex while you can

    Imagine if peanuts suddenly went extinct and you could never make a jelly sandwich again. Imagine if the world exhausted its entire supply of lithium and no one could ever manufacture another iPhone or flat-screen TV.
  • Yes, Katz loves his family, but he also hates to lose

    After suffering through a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad final term, Sam Katz had to be concerned about his legacy as Winnipeg's mayor. Long-serving politicians like to be able to look back at their time in office and say 'I built this.' They don't like to reflect on the projects that didn't turn out as well as planned.
  • Katz's third-term stumbles overshadow earlier accomplishments

    After suffering through a miserable third term, Sam Katz had to be concerned about his legacy as Winnipeg’s mayor. Hence the wisdom of announcing his resignation from municipal life at Central Park, a revitalized inner-city amenity that serves recent immigrants and other residents of one of downtown Winnipeg’s most densely populated areas.
  • Bowman’s got a big Chipman on his side

    If you had to compile a list of the most popular people in Winnipeg, the top five spots would be occupied by Mark Chipman, Mark Chipman, Mark Chipman, Santa Claus and Mark Chipman. The person who brought the NHL back to Winnipeg will forever be regarded warmly by hundreds of thousands of Jets fans — a collection of people that happens to correspond to a majority of the city’s population.
  • All candidates gathering as mayoral race chugs along

    Winnipeg's mayoral race is about to lurch into a new phase, with the first gathering of every candidate under the same roof. Over the lunch hour, St. Boniface's francophone chamber of commerce plans to host an all-candidates forum that should offer a glimpse into the campaign readiness of Winnipeg's seven mayoral wannabes.
  • Bike woes clear long before death

    In politics, broadcasting or any other realm of public life, using a tragedy to make a point is a dangerous game. On Monday evening, a Blue Bomber fan was riding his bike to Investors Group Field to watch a CFL pre-season game when he was involved in a motor-vehicle collision. Sixty-nine-year-old Dick Stevenson was taken to hospital in unstable condition and later died of his injuries.
  • Waiting game to end

    The following column includes Game of Thrones spoilers up to the eighth episode of Season Four. Read no further unless you wish to know which of your 735 favourite characters have died in a horrible manner.  
  • City, Bombers both lose in lame, ego-fuelled spat

    DURING the nightmarish inaugural season at Investors Group Field, one of the few silver linings for the Winnipeg Football Club was the eventual success of the game-day transportation plan. A year ago this month, getting to and from the new stadium was an unmitigated disaster. Long lines of vehicles stalled on the way to IGF, there weren’t enough buses for passengers, fans arrived well after kickoff and then got stuck on the U of M campus long after the final down.
  • City, Bombers both lose in lame, ego-fuelled spat

    During the nightmarish inaugural season at Investors Group Field, one of the few silver linings for the Winnipeg Football Club was the eventual success of the game-day transportation plan. A year ago this month, getting to and from the new stadium was an unmitigated disaster. Long lines of vehicles stalled on the way to IGF, there weren't enough buses for passengers, fans arrived well after kickoff and then got stuck on the U of M campus long after the final down.
  • Departing Swandel's transformation is sad

    Friends, Winnipeggers, citizens, lend me your ears: I come to bury Justin Swandel as well as praise him. After nine years as the councillor for St. Norbert, Swandel has called it quits, announcing Monday he plans to leave city hall this fall to focus on real estate and development.
  • This Whiteshell trail is a well-hidden gem

    Eleven years ago, the non-profit organization responsible for Manitoba's 1,300-kilometre section of the Trans-Canada Trail happily declared its portion of the national route was 90 per cent complete. The move was premature. Actual trail users immediately voiced concerns about a route that included shoulders of rural gravel roads, unconnected orphan stretches and a few ordinary Winnipeg streets.
  • Saving eggs a wild goose chase

    At the height of autumn migration, in the middle of September, about 121,000 Canada geese will be waddling and flapping around Winnipeg. That works out to roughly one goose for every six humans who live within the confines of this city. But unlike Winnipeg's human beings, the vast majority of our geese are merely passing through.
  • Fish owner needs to be careful what he says

    If you ask Mayor Sam Katz, he has a great working relationship with pretty much everybody. All those fights with the province over the years? Those were just ordinary differences of opinion with his best of buddies, Premier Greg Selinger.
  • Boredom an art form for the Royal Family

    If you had to choose only one reason to not have children or merely pretend you don't have any in your life, it would be to avoid the dullest spectacle known to humankind -- the dreaded dance recital. Waiting in line at the bank is boring. Listening to middle-aged people talk about their personal finances is even worse.
  • A ham-fisted way to treat our meat

    In practically every city and town in Spain, countless legs of artisanally cured ham are hanging from the ceilings of thousands of tapas bars. To the Spanish, jamón is not just a staple cold cut. The art of curing ham with nothing more than sea salt, air and the passage of time has been perfected over the course of centuries, initially as a means of simply preserving pork and later to coax a complex array of flavours from the flesh.
  • Mayoral candidates fill air with blather

    Going into this week, Gord Steeves was the mayoral candidate to beat on the centre-right in Winnipeg. The lawyer and moderate Tory, who spent 11 years on city council, enjoyed the support of 17 to 22 per cent of Winnipeg voters in the only two credible mayoral-race polls conducted in this city thus far. Only the lefty Judy Wasylycia-Leis posted better numbers in those surveys.
  • What's the best canoe shoe for you?

    With the ice off the rivers and starting to recede from lakes, paddling season is here. As I find myself without proper footwear for the first time in ages, I've found myself engaging in an internal version of the oldest debate among paddlers: What's the best footwear for a multi-day trip? Skimpy sandals are comfortable in a boat, but can be scary on portages. Heavy boots offer protection, but can be inconvenient. Runners offer medium ground but stink after a while.
  • The Cube scores major design award

    Some musicians call it the Cheese Grater. Most Winnipeggers know it as the Cube. Now, the hypermodernist stage in Old Market Square is also known as a medal-worthy piece of architecture after earning national honours for its creators, 5468796 Architecture co-founders Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme.

About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott.

Bartley appears every second Wednesday on CityTV’s Breakfast Television. His work has also appeared on CBC Radio and in publications such as National Geographic Traveler, explore magazine and Western Living.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives
Email: bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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