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After over a month of debate, council has voted to adopt the city’s 20-year pedestrian and cycling strategy.
Only three councillors voted in opposition, Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), Shawn Dobson (St. Charles) and Ross Eadie (Mynarski).
In a shocking move, Coun. Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) did not oppose the strategy, despite lobbying against the strategy, seconding multiple amendments that were denied, and spending $700 of his ward allowance on radio ads decrying the strategy.
Coun. Russ Wyatt was not present after storming out the room in protest.
Debate on the city’s pedestrian and cycling strategy reached a boiling point when Coun. Russ Wyatt stormed out of council chambers with 20 rejected amendments in hand, the words "democracy denied" scrawled over them.
The Transcona councillor, perturbed by city council’s decision to shut down debate on his motions, walked over to Mayor Brian Bowman’s office and taped each of the rejected motions on his door.
"This speaks for itself," he said as he left, refusing to answer questions from the media.
Prior to this, an attempt by Wyatt and four other councillors to create a filibuster on the debate by tabling 20 motions, was shut down after council used a council by-law to vote down even debating their motions.
Under the by-law, only the first two amendment motions tabled for an item can be debated and voted on. If more motions are to be added, two-thirds of council must vote to suspend the rules.
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In this case, the first two motions were tabled by cycling-friendly strategy councillors Coun. Scott Gillingham and Coun. Jenny Gerbasi.
Only councillors Wyatt, Jeff Browaty, Jason Schreyer, Ross Eadie and Shawn Dobson voted to suspend the rules so they could debate the remaining motions.
"The rest of the council meeting is now a farce. Never in the history of council have amendments by sitting duly elected city councillors been denied a chance for discussions and debate. Whether they agree with them or not," Wyatt said via text after he left the meeting. "The fact they refused an open and democratic debate of ideas, everything council stands for, is unprecedented!"
Council will vote on the two amendments, one which clarifies that no money will be spent if this strategy is adopted, the other clarifying that public consultation and council approval will occur before any policy changes occur to the city’s sidewalk snow-clearing policy.
They will also vote to adopt the 20-year $334 million strategy.
Other items that were passed by city council on Wednesday:
Reinstatement of barricades along Sunday/holiday bike routes along Wellington Crescent, Lyndale Drive, Wolseley Avenue and Scotia Street.
Waiver of development fees for the Sport for Life Centre field house, stating the amount waived be capped to a maximum of $200,000 and be subject to conditions that the National Women’s volleyball team stays in Winnipeg.
The Forks has been grated another year to secure matching provincial and federal funds for its ambitious development of the last remaining vacant property on at Parcel Four.
Approval to run a two-year pilot that will utilize CCTV as a technology to assist in identifying vehicles / persons that are illegal dumping in priority sites identified by the Public Service.
Raising the casual garbage drop-off fee from $11 to a minimum of $15 up to $61 for a one-tonne load.