WEATHER ALERT

Community safety, funding questions, civic wages: mayoral roundup

Advertisement

Advertise with us

Communities throughout Winnipeg will create tailored programs that may use anything from all-night libraries to more beat cops to make their streets safer, if Glen Murray becomes the city’s next mayor.

Read this article for free:

or

Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe with this special offer:

All-Access Digital Subscription

$4.75 per week*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles
Continue

*Pay $19.00 every four weeks. GST will be added to each payment. Subscription can be cancelled anytime.

Communities throughout Winnipeg will create tailored programs that may use anything from all-night libraries to more beat cops to make their streets safer, if Glen Murray becomes the city’s next mayor.

“In some neighbourhoods, we may need 24-hour libraries, we may need 24-hour community centres. In others, we may need evening or morning (hours for those facilities). So, the idea would be the entire delivery of services in a neighbourhood would be tailored to the needs of the people in the neighbourhood,” Murray said, during a Friday news conference.

The mayoral candidate said policing would be part of the equation, since he thinks proactive law enforcement measures, such as beat cops in the streets and sports programs in the community centres of “high needs” areas, were successful at preventing crime when he served as mayor from 1998 to 2004.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mayoral candidate Glen Murray announces the second part of his safety strategy at the South Winnipeg Community Centre, Friday.

“When we see 13- and 15-year-olds involved in violent crime, we would much rather they be at the local library or taking a program at the local hockey rink or the local community centre,” said Murray.

The announcement comes just after the release of a Probe Research poll that found 79 per cent of those surveyed said Winnipeg isn’t as safe as it was in 2019. The online survey of 600 adults was conducted Sept. 8-18.

Under Murray’s proposal, neighbourhood groups would create area-specific safety plans. These would use safety audits to pinpoint where dangers such as fires, violent crime and vandalism most often occur.

“They create a map of the neighbourhood or the high-risk situations and that audit reveals the kinds of changes (that are needed),” he said.

Murray noted provincial changes would be required to allow municipal politicians to direct police operations, since current legislation prohibits that.

He also proposes to support the creation of “15-minute neighbourhoods,” where residents can live and meet most of their needs, such as shopping and possibly work, within a 15-minute walk.

“In neighbourhoods where people walk, you have lots of people on the street, lots of eyes on the street (to improve safety).”

While the candidate did not provide a cost estimate, he said the price could be partially offset by allowing community plans to help “co-locate” amenities such as rec centres and pools, which would allow them to share staff, security and other operating costs.

He said the city would also save money on emergency responses, as the community safety measures begin to prevent crime.

While it was not part of his platform pledge, Murray told media he would also support a safe drug consumption site to help combat addictions, as long as proper consultation and planning were used to determine the exact model and location.

Hours after his announcement, Murray was put on the hot seat by a mayoral opponent. In a news release, Scott Gillingham accused Murray of leaving his financial plan an “unsolved mystery.”

While Gillingham plans to raise taxes by 3.5 per cent in each of the next four years and raise the local frontage levy by $1.50 per foot in 2023 to help fund his pledges, Murray has yet to share the cost of his platform.

“(His) tax and budget policy statements are vague and contradictory… It’s a mystery how he’s going to pay for his commitments,” said Gillingham.

The release noted Murray has announced potentially pricey plans to electrify Transit and expand library and pool service without cost estimates.

Murray told the Free Press he will release a detailed plan to pay for all of his promises within the next week: “This will be a fully costed plan… and all (projects) will be accounted and itemized. All of those questions will be answered.”

Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Rana Bokhari is promising to implement a “living wage” for all civic workers, if she’s elected.

“It is quite alarming how many individuals are truly working paycheque to paycheque (in) working poverty… I believe in lifting people from the tipping point of poverty,” said Bokhari.

The candidate said she would work with unions to ensure wages rise in each of the next four years to reach $18.34 an hour for both union and non-union workers. After that goal is met, further pay increases will be tied to inflation, said Bokhari.

She said the pay increase should also help the City of Winnipeg attract and retain staff, noting some entry level municipal jobs pay $14.11/hr.

Those who oppose living wage proposals have argued many of the lowest paid jobs are typically held by youth who still live with their parents, thus facing a lower cost of living.

Bokhari said paying youth more, however, could help keep them in Winnipeg.

“I think it’s a good thing if we can pay students living wages so they stay in the city,” she said.

Winnipeggers will elect their next mayor and council Oct. 26.

joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

Report Error Submit a Tip

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Local

LOAD MORE