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Today's council meeting could go long as councillors push for amendments to transportation plan

Mayor using 'Harper-like tactic' to silence opposition: Wyatt

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/7/2015 (1466 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Fireworks and mudslinging are on the agenda as city hall gears up for a marathon debate on the city’s 20-year cycling and pedestrian strategy.

Over 20 amendments are on the table to be considered by council regarding the strategy at today’s last city council meeting before council heads into a six-week break. Most were written by the five councillors who have spent the past month lobbying against council’s adoption of the document.

The document outlines the city’s 20-year plan for cycling and walking infrastructure, along with possible routes.

Two warring motions involving snow-clearing have been tabled, one by two of city hall’s strongest cycling advocates, Coun. Janice Lukes and Coun. Jenny Gerbasi.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/7/2015 (1466 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Fireworks and mudslinging are on the agenda as city hall gears up for a marathon debate on the city’s 20-year cycling and pedestrian strategy.

Over 20 amendments are on the table to be considered by council regarding the strategy at today’s last city council meeting before council heads into a six-week break. Most were written by the five councillors who have spent the past month lobbying against council’s adoption of the document.

The document outlines the city’s 20-year plan for cycling and walking infrastructure, along with possible routes.

Two warring motions involving snow-clearing have been tabled, one by two of city hall’s strongest cycling advocates, Coun. Janice Lukes and Coun. Jenny Gerbasi.

In this motion, they seek to emphasize that the recommendation to consider having residents clear their own sidewalks cannot happen without council’s approval and consultation with the public.

The last Winnipeg city hall meeting of the summer begins Wednesday.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The last Winnipeg city hall meeting of the summer begins Wednesday.

"(That) A comprehensive public consultation program be mandatory in the future to amend current residential sidewalk snow-clearing practices as noted in the pedestrian and cycling strategy," reads the motion.

Lukes and Gerbasi, along with Mayor Brian Bowman, have repeatedly emphasized the reality of this recommendation, but the naysayers to the strategy have used it to ignite opposition against the $334-million active transportation strategy.

Meanwhile, Coun. Shawn Dobson and Coun. Jason Schreyer, who have been opponents to the strategy, have tabled a motion to remove the reference to snow-clearing in the 364-page document, asking that the document be amended to remove the text that mentions having residents clear their own sidewalks.

According to Coun. Russ Wyatt and Coun. Ross Eadie, two other members of city hall’s Rebel Five, the amendments to the strategy today may be stifled by a loophole at city hall that only allows for two amendments to be brought forth for an agenda item.

Wyatt alleges that by using this rule the five councillors who have serious concerns regarding the strategy will not have their voice heard.

On the eve of council's vote on the strategy, Wyatt said he was told by the city clerk's office that two amendments by cycling-friendly councillors are going to be tabled, trumping any attempts by himself, Eadie, Shawn Dobson, Jason Schreyer and Jeff Browaty to have their amendments discussed.

Russ Wyatt  at city Hall Tuesday.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Russ Wyatt at city Hall Tuesday.

Wyatt claims that Bowman is leading the charge to have their amendments not be heard.

"By orchestrating two motions and then refusing to suspend the rules to allow open debate on other motions, Mayor Bowman is using a Harper-like tactic of closure," Wyatt said Tuesday evening.

In order for council to consider more than two amendments to the item today, two-thirds of council will have to approve suspending the rules to allow for all the amendments on the table to be debated.

Wyatt and Eadie do not believe they will have this opportunity.

Together, the five of them have almost 20 amendments they want to see considered before council votes to adopt the strategy.

This story will be updated.

 

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 9:48 AM CDT: Adds City of Winnipeg live stream

10:39 AM: Updates with full writethru

11:02 AM: Adds photo, changes headline

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