A pretty city, dumping EPC and photo radar: Friday’s mayoral promises

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Glen Murray wants to make Winnipeg prettier.

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Glen Murray wants to make Winnipeg prettier.

The mayoral candidate picked Old Market Square in the Exchange District as the backdrop to his announcement Friday. He promised to get more input from artists and designers into public works and infrastructure projects.

He believes the city could do this at little to no extra cost.

All new city development projects would be required to pass quality design, cultural authenticity and environmental sustainability guidelines under Glen Murray’s proposed plan. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

He pointed to Waterfront Drive as an example of a functional and beautiful street that wasn’t overly costly.

“Rather than spending most of our money buying off-the-rack street furniture, in the cases of Waterfront Drive and Stephen Juba Park, we hired artists who (designed) unique pieces so our street furniture is actually public art as well. It created a very important economic base for growing local artists and designers,” he said.

All new city development projects would be required to pass quality design, cultural authenticity and environmental sustainability guidelines under Murray’s plan.

Design options would be included in the capital budget so design and its return on investment become part of the city’s fiscal strategy.

“These elements of good design, whether it’s public art, whether it’s cultural institutions and their artists, or public works, building a city that’s beautiful builds a return,” he said.

Murray also discussed plans to double the city’s arts and culture funding to $8 million over the next five years. A percentage of the city’s capital budget would be devoted to public art; the billboard tax would be raised as well.

Earlier, challenger Kevin Klein said he would work to abolish the executive policy committee entirely, sometimes called the mayor’s cabinet, if elected on Oct. 26.

The “strong mayor” model has been a point of discussion during the mayoral race. Some candidates argue the EPC model gives the group and the mayor more power over councillors who aren’t on the committee. While fellow candidate Scott Gillingham, who has served on EPC, has promised to ask the province to reform the model, Klein said he would end it entirely.

“No other candidate will eliminate EPC, no other candidate. They want that power, they want to have a hold because they think that’s how decisions are made,” he said from his campaign office on Stafford Street.

The EPC is responsible for drafting budgets and setting policies for council to discuss. Klein has accused EPC members of holding secret meetings he and other councillors were excluded from.

“These are secret meetings that keep out almost half of the elected officials in your city. In fact, when it’s time for the budget, it’s already printed, and councillors maybe get an hour, sometimes two, over the course of a few weeks to ask questions,” he said.

“But really, that time has been used by finance chairs in the past, including one that’s running against me, to see what it would take to get a vote, to see what it would take to get support, so that the budget passes with more than a nine-to-seven vote.”

On Friday, Jenny Motkaluk said she wants to put an end to the city’s “outdated (and) unfair” photo radar program and ticketing for exceeding school speed limits on holidays.

“My opponent Glen Murray brought us photo radar in the first place by signing a contract on Dec. 11, 2002, about eighteen months before he walked out on his job as our mayor,” she said in a statement. “Since that time, the city has been addicted to the cash windfall that he invented, and I’m willing to go cold turkey.”

Rather, her traffic safety plan would include installing flashing lights in school zones to warn drivers when the limits are in effect, similar flashing lights at all major intersections and increased signage in high traffic and historically dangerous driving areas, she said.

The other mayoral candidates are Shaun Loney, Rana Bokhari, Rick Shone, Idris Adelakun, Chris Clacio, Robert-Falcon Ouellete and Don Woodstock.

malak.abas@freepress.mb.ca

Malak Abas

Malak Abas
Reporter

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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