Is having a mayor with extensive time and knowledge of one’s own ward important to you?
As many readers are aware, Paula Havixbeck, the current city councillor for Charleswood, Tuxedo and Whyte Ridge, has entered the race to be elected mayor of Winnipeg.
While one can’t expect, of course, to receive special favours from a mayor just because she has experience in a particular ward, I was curious all the same to find out if she had any special ideas for how she might be able to benefit Charleswood.
"Getting things done on budget and on time," she said, when asked about her proudest accomplishments during her years on city council, citing the new fire station on Roblin Boulevard as an example.
"I feel so lucky to have a trail and a park near my home," Havixbeck said. "I live in a very walkable neighbourhood. That’s what I like about it."
Havixbeck is a single mother of two boys, and lives in the ward she represents. She says the support she gets from her constituents is what excites her about running for the city’s top political job.
"I hear tremendous support for running for mayor," she says. "People are saying to me, ‘We’ll miss you. But we want you to do at a larger level what you’ve done for Charleswood.’"
But not everyone agrees that Havixbeck is good for Charleswood — never mind the entire city.
"There’s no vision with her," Charleswood resident George Wiebe said. "Too much of what she says is just bringing up past bad mistakes. It’s time to move on. We need someone who can look forward."
Havixbeck announced last week that if she is elected mayor, she will ask the RCMP to investigate city hall, in particular the new police headquarters project and the fire-paramedic station replacement program.
She’s come under some criticism for dwelling too much on the past.
I asked several of my fellow Charleswood-area residents — many of them in their early 20s — if they will vote for Havixbeck. None felt they knew enough about her to offer an informed decision.
Hopefully that poor level of knowledge will change.
People looking for information the upcoming elections can visit www.winnipeg.ca for a full listing of candidates, their websites, and how to get in contact.
Winnipeg’s civic election will be held on Oct. 22, 2014.
Amanda Thorsteinsson is a community correspondent for Charleswood.