Kurt Morton is a young, progressive candidate who wants to bring a fresh voice to council. He currently works for the City of Winnipeg. He was born in Toronto and moved to Winnipeg with his family when he was 8. He graduated from Vincent Massey Collegiate's French Immersion Program and started a Geography degree at the University of Manitoba. Kurt has taken the last year off of school to work full time and to run for council but will return next year to complete his current degree and pursue a Master's in Urban Planning.
Kurt has worked for the City of Winnipeg for the past 5 years: briefly as a Wading Pool Attendant, then as a Lifeguard/Swim Instructor in the Community Services Department. He currently works as a Building Servicer in the Planning, Property, and Development department.
Kurt lives on Valour Road, just outside the ward, with his two cats Freyja and Milo. While he currently lives outside the ward, he worked at the St. James Centennial and St. James Civic Centre pools as a lifeguard, as well as coached for the St. James Seals swim team. If elected, Kurt will move into the ward in order to be even more in touch with the needs of residents.
Profession: Building Servicer 1 with the City of Winnipeg
Graduated from Vincent Massey Collegiate
Working towards B.A. in Geography at University of Manitoba
Have you ever previously run for or held office?
This is my first time running for any elected position.
Have you ever been a member of a political party?
I am a member of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba and do not belong to any party federally. At a municipal level, it is important to move beyond party lines and to collaborate with everyone for a better Winnipeg.
Why did you decide to run for office?
I want to set the city on a better long term path. Continuing to cut municipal services and grow our infrastructure deficit is simply pushing the problem to future generations. By making the city a better place to live, work, and play we can attract more tourism, bring in new companies, and increase our quality of life.
As well, as a city employee, I see the disconnect between frontline workers and upper administration and Council every day. I want to bridge that gap by being more in touch than the current council with both what workers are seeing and what residents want.
What are the biggest issues facing your community?
The biggest concerns I am hearing about while going door-to-door are bad roads, transit problems, issues with city services, and crime.
If elected, I will ensure council continues the current trend of increasing road repair budgets. We must rebuild streets to last, and create streets that better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
City services need to be looked at differently. Rather than total cost, we should evaluate cost per use. Instead of cutting hours and hunting for tiny savings, we need to look at the big picture and try to maximize the usage of our buildings by reducing user fees and increasing operating hours. As well, the trend of cutting parks and urban forestry budgets is short sighted. These are some of our city's best assets and must be maintained and preserved.
Crime, such as petty break-ins and larger issues, have been identified as a huge problem. I support an expansion of the Cadets program and improved community policing solutions. Our police do a great job, and I look forward to working with police to identify old systems and find places to improve efficiency.
Tell us something about yourself that voters might find surprising.
I am on a mission to eat at every sushi restaurant in Winnipeg.
About your platforms and policies
What is your position on reopening Portage and Main to pedestrians?
Portage and Main needs to feel like a place, not simply a route to drive through. Winnipeg's downtown is currently undergoing huge positive changes, and we need to keep that momentum growing. Opening Portage and Main will increase our downtown's vibrancy, which leads to increased economic activity, residents, and businesses.
I will support whichever option voters choose in this election. If we keep Portage and Main closed, I will keep fighting for other ways to create a stronger, more vibrant downtown.
What should Winnipeg’s plan be for the future of public and active transit?
Winnipeg must improve the appeal of transit, biking, and walking through three main ways:
1. Building complete streets: balancing the needs of cars with safer designs for pedestrians and bikes
2. Frequent transit network: a network of buses that runs 15 minutes or better all day long
3. Bus rapid transit: continue working to develop a city-wide network of corridors
What actions should the city take to progress toward reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians?
It is important that Indigenous issues and reconciliation are considered at all levels of decision making. It's important that open and respectful discussions continue at all levels. Continued education of all levels of civic staff is important, as well as eliminating systemic barriers towards access to city services and jobs.
How can the city tackle growing problems with drug addiction?
The meth crisis requires an multi-level government approach and must be solved as a health and addictions issue rather than as a criminal problem.
Tell us about something you’ve seen in another city that Winnipeggers should consider implementing here.
The City of Edmonton has an excellent set of architectural Winter Design Guidelines that set out design rules to best block wind and maximize exposure to sunlight. I would like to see something similar put in place in Winnipeg in order to capitalize on and show that we're proud to be a winter city.
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