Bevy of promises by Winnipeg mayoral candidates
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/09/2022 (256 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Scott Gillingham wants to chip away at City of Winnipeg expenses by taking a close look at its fleet of vehicles.
The mayoral candidate, and current councillor for St. James, thinks it could save millions in taxpayer dollars.
“The (city’s) fleet agency isn’t in a position to enforce tougher rules against departments that are buying or leasing vehicles, and city managers haven’t been strict enough,” he said Thursday.
Gillingham said a city audit found that nearly one-third of the light vehicles (225 cars and trucks) are driven less than 5,000 kilometres a year.
As mayor, he would review every vehicle request and purchase, work with car co-ops and school divisions to possibly share vehicles and regularly review the fleet inventory.
He also promised a target date for the complete transition to electric vehicles.
Repair, don’t replace: Loney
Challenger Shaun Loney promised to focus on repairing roads versus building new ones.
His “fix it first” approach would update the way the civic administration determines the value of infrastructure projects in the hope of bringing in more funding for low-carbon and environmentally friendly transit initiatives.
He said he would address the issue of a drop in tax revenue from diesel and gasoline by transitioning to a distance-based model.
“Continued reliance on gas taxes is a doomed approach,” said Loney in a statement. “It is inevitable that this source of revenue will decline not only because of inflation, but will start to shrink as more stringent federal fuel economy standards come into effect and people shift to electric vehicles.”
Seize and assist: Motkaluk
Candidate Jenny Motkaluk focused on homelessness Thursday.
She vowed that under her watch, the city would seize vacant and derelict buildings.
In what Motkaluk called the biggest announcement of her campaign, she said she planned to seize buildings under a current city bylaw — which allows the city to take control of buildings that aren’t maintained properly without have to pay for them — and auction them off to landlords. They would then be required to turn them into affordable housing within six months.
“We’ve seen, from other candidates, lots of different central planning-style solutions that involve lots of public money and really little likelihood of success,” Motkaluk said Thursday.
“For me, the intersection with that is the fact that we have a private sector in Winnipeg that is already doing the job of providing affordable housing.”
There are hundreds of vacant buildings in Winnipeg, and the city has long tried to enforce its maintenance regulations, including ensuring the building is boarded up and secure. Motkaluk said her plan would get people into housing so they’re better able to receive support services.
“My plan is the fastest way that we can move people out of our bus shelters and riverbanks and into dignified housing,” she said. “And all of that can be done without hundreds of millions of dollars of public money that we’re never going to source from anywhere.”
Culture shock: Shone
Fellow candidate Rick Shone said he wants to look at supporting the police service without increasing funding.
His plan includes letting police chief Danny Smyth’s contract lapse and to “change the culture at the WPS.”
“I have already stated that new leadership is required to begin the process of deep cultural changes at WPS,” said Shone in a statement. “The reforms I propose can take place within the first year of my term and would have an immediate impact on how we use police resources. I remain committed to finding new leadership that is aligned with the vision of policing we need for the future.”
He said he would expand the cadet program and community policing.
“The answer is not to spend more on policing, but to help WPS to better manage the workload,” he said.
Other mayoral candidates are Glen Murray, Kevin Klein, Rana Bokhari, Idris Adelakun, Chris Clacio, Robert-Falcon Ouellete and Don Woodstock.
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.