A litany of changes to the city’s active transportation plan is being proposed by city hall’s Rebel Five, including the removal of the sidewalk snow-clearing recommendation.

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A litany of changes to the city’s active transportation plan is being proposed by city hall’s Rebel Five, including the removal of the sidewalk snow-clearing recommendation.

As council gears up to vote on the adoption of a controversial 20-year cycling-and-pedestrian strategy, the five councillors have cobbled together a series of motions aimed at rectifying what they feel are glaring problems with the blueprint.

At today’s council meeting, rookie Coun. Shawn Dobson will introduce a motion to remove the contentious line in the 364-page document that recommends having certain city sidewalks become the responsibility of the homeowner and includes residents facing a fine if they fail to clear the snow within 24 hours.

The controversial recommendation within the strategy, which outlines the city’s $334-million, 20-year active transportation plan, has been one of the many points of contention for Dobson and four other councillors — Russ Wyatt, Jeff Browaty, Jason Schreyer and Ross Eadie — who have rallied together in opposition.

Daniel McIntyre Coun. Cindy Gilroy, who supports the strategy, said she probably won’t support removing the recommendation just to appease the naysayers.

"I don’t really see that the snow removal is something we have to be concerned about, it is just a recommendation," she said. "Right now, I just want to see this move forward."

Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) said if council votes in favour of calling the document a guideline as opposed to policy, he’ll give it the green light. He said it will give him the assurance that if their proposed amendments don’t go through, they can be added at a later date.

The group learned Tuesday that, according to the rules at city hall, they can only introduce two motions for the agenda item — meaning they will be at the mercy of the remaining members of council and Mayor Brian Bowman if they want their case heard. They will need two-thirds support of council to suspend the rules and allow them to introduce further amendments.

Wyatt (Transcona), who as of Tuesday had nine planned motions involving specific changes to the strategy, hopes he is allowed to bring them all forward for council’s consideration.

One of those motions calls for the forecast $334-million budget for the 20year plan to be capped to $60 million over 10 years. He argues it is dangerous to try to budget projects any further in advance.

Eadie tested the water at Tuesday’s Lord Selkirk-West Kildonan community committee meeting by introducing six amendments to the active transportation strategy. All but one, an amendment to make off-street pathways west of the Red River a priority, were shot down by fellow committee members Coun. Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) and Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas). Eadie will reintroduce the motions today, he said.

Browaty (North Kildonan) remains hopeful his proposed amendments, which include correcting errors in the report and adding new active transportation infrastructure, will be heard by the rest of council.

"We are trying to go through an important exercise here and this is important to recognize that active transportation and pedestrian strategies are very important to Winnipeg, and this is an opportunity to put us in a great position for the next 20 years," said Browaty.

Council will vote for the adoption of the strategy and proposed motions today, the last council meeting before city hall takes a six-week break.

 

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca